Seminar discusses how to boost city 'play'

Housing providers, market forces, health and safety, and parent or carer "gatekeepers" are all hurdles to providing playable cities, a seminar has heard.

Speakers at Talking Point, The Playable City seminar at The Gallery in Farringdon, London, on 7 May, outlined views on what city "play" means and how best to provide it.

Noel Farrer, of Farrer Huxley Associates, wanted to bring play into general public space. He said: "They don't get some levels of complexity around play. If you put play in a box with fences all around, then it ticks all boxes."

Some councils, meanwhile, do not follow recommendations for play. One project devoted 2.5sq m per child to play against the GLA's 10sq m, he said.

Anna Strongman from Argent also faced "partner challenges" but showed how private funding and a willingness to experiment could help. One idea, a bird cage swing commissioned as an art project, has become "amazingly popular".

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