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Architect urges people to take to the streets in a play revolution

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June 19 2020

Architect urges people to take to the streets in a play revolution
Architect Calum Duncan, chair of Play Scotland, has issued a plea for more urban spaces to facilitate play amid concern at the mounting learning and wellbeing impact the current lockdown is having on children.
 
Addressing local authorities, the profession and construction industry more generally Duncan calls for play spaces to be given the same priority as walking and cycling routes as part of a broader consideration of amenity and wild space in future developments.
 
Duncan told Urban Realm: "Being playful during these times of home- working, home-learning and restricted movement, is more important than ever. Play is a vital and simple way for families and siblings to feel connected; it is a tonic in the face of anxiety, and it is a way of exploring ideas as an opportunity for intuitive learning. However, we are challenged by good appropriate space, inside and out, for everyone to play and explore.
 
"Space is needed for children and young people to PLAY, as well as all of us to get fresh air and exercise."
 
Mindful of the potential for a regression to the way things were when the lockdown is lifted Duncan champions targetted road closures for play, walking and exercise, particularly where they pass schools and parks - rewilding them in a manner not dissimilar to lost railway lines from the Beeching cuts.
 
Duncan added: "A busy road junction adjacent to schools could be transformed into an expanded playground space, whilst calming car use too. A stretch of residential street could be closed where residents have limited or no gardens."
 
Duncan quotes statistics which show 15% of UK homes have no access to private outdoor space, while just 25% of flats provide their occupants with greenspace, with disadvantaged areas not coincidentally providing the least private outdoor space.
 

He concluded: "It is not just for local authorities to take actions on these issues, we can all help. For every single journey we need to make, the less we drive, the slower we drive, the more we cycle and the more we walk, the more space we are making for all ages to enjoy and play. We have an opportunity to change our mindsets which will improve play space, mental-health and wellbeing, as well as the air quality for all of us. Let’s make space to play and breathe."

Calum Duncan speaks about space for play from Play Scotland on Vimeo.

4 Comments

Nairn's Bairn
#1 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 19 Jun 2020 at 13:02 PM
Oh Calum. Don't you know that the car is king, and kids don't play outside anymore?

There's only one way to get urban kids outside - cut the internet.
Jimbo
#2 Posted by Jimbo on 19 Jun 2020 at 16:49 PM
it looks like the lockdown has affected some people harder than others
monkey9000
#3 Posted by monkey9000 on 22 Jun 2020 at 09:57 AM
#1 "Cut the internet"?... How about starting with the "car is king" part of your statement?
Nairn's Bairn
#4 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 22 Jun 2020 at 17:26 PM
@#3 Cutting the internet wasn't actually a serious solution to child inactivity and obesity, it was just a wee joke, I don’t think I’m the first to make it.

It should go without saying that reduction in car use is a fundamental mission for urban areas.

I think lockdown will have an impact on this – more people working from home, and just the realisation that perhaps that second or third car in the family isn’t essential after all. It’s a necessity in the country obviously, but if you live in a town centre then not having a car can give you more freedom rather than less – more money in your pocket, not having to worry about parking or damage.

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