Play Streets create welcoming, accessible, and fun environments for all ages to enjoy

Play Streets

Children riding on the custom-designed "Wobbles" at a Play Street event

Different configurations for the "Wobble"

A makeshift soccer pitch on a street

Play Streets is a key opportunity for outdoor play in park-poor neighborhoods

Opportunities for "risky play" are important for child development

Hopscotch at a Play Street event

Play Streets create welcoming, accessible, and fun environments for all ages to enjoy

Play Streets

Play Streets

KDI is working with LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) to develop a “Play Streets” program, enabling LA residents to temporarily close neighborhood blocks to traffic and convert them into spaces for recreation, exercise, and gathering. We designed custom-built play pieces called “Wobbles” to help residents transform their streets and play in their favorite ways.

Context

A typical street in Los Angeles is not welcoming to pedestrians

LA is famous for its car culture, and the pollution and safety issues resulting from its traffic-dominated streets are a significant public health concern.

However, both the City and residents are keen to explore more flexible uses for city streets, particularly in neighborhoods that lack access to open space and parks.

Process

A neighborhood summit to organize a Play Street event

In Phase 1 of the pilot, KDI worked with low-income, park-poor communities to design and deploy a “Box of Play”, containing games and portable furnishings, at Play Street events.

We then developed branding, an online application procedure, and portable play pieces called “Wobbles” that draw on residents’ input and research into play.

Solution

A Play Street event in Boyle Heights

In Phase 2 of the pilot, residents are successfully using the online application to apply for Play Street events.

The Box of Play is deployed at each event, providing shade sails, games, and a set of Wobbles that can be put together, taken apart, moved, and used individually to inspire residents of all ages to reimagine their streets for play.

Impact

Teenagers hanging out on the Wobbles

At the end of the second pilot phase, KDI will present recommendations to LADOT so that Play Streets can roll out permanently across the city.

The program will be especially beneficial to those without easy access to parks, improving mental, emotional and physical health while increasing community cohesion and safety.