While playgrounds exist all over the world for children, where are the playspaces built for adults? There seems to be an assumption that once you grow up and start working that play loses importance, or becomes a personal hobby or activity separate from everyday activities. But what about spontaneous play?
Contrary to what society seems to say, play is equally important for adults as it is for children. And it might follow that there should be as many play spaces that invite and cater to adults as there are for children. And when I say adults .. this must also include the elderly. There are many ways this could happen, from elaborate ‘playground’ type spaces to simple interventions in public spaces. What is important is that opportunities are provided that inspire playful interaction and exploration, and that offer ways for people to connect to themselves, to other people, and to the world around them in fresh new ways.
In Brene Brown’s research into the habits of whole-hearted people she made a simple but profound discovery – “Adult play is important”. And yet so many things get in the way of adult play. Work is valued over play and fears such as ‘looking stupid’, or ‘wasting time’ often prevent adults from the important benefits that play provide.
The need for play-spaces that cater to all ages is relevant both for cities as well as smaller towns. In cities I believe it is essential. Given the rise of technology, automation, obesity and depression, facilitating physical play needs to become a priority for urban planners. The rewards of creativity, connection and meaning may not have an obvious monetary benefit, but the benefits are priceless and reflect an evolving society.