Proposal for the Lost Spaces Call for Ideas Competition, in partnership with Em Cheng.
Awarded Honorable Mention.
Exhibited at the Contemporary Calgary / C2 gallery May 7-23, 2015, and at the Open Spaces gallery June 1 – July 31, 2015.
A Play-Full City brings outdoor play to Calgary’s remnant and vacant spaces left over by official planning processes. It proposes an infrastructure of games and sports overlaid onto existing sites which are under-used yet well-suited to host these activities. By distributing activities in all neighbourhoods, opportunities are created for social and physical activity that are freely accessible to Calgarians of all locations and financial situations.
Setting up A Play-Full City involves leveraging Calgary’s existing resources, both physical and human. Rather than investing capital in expensive new recreation centres, time is spent examining the dimensions and surface conditions of the traffic islands and alleyways already maintained by the city. These locations are then matched with a game or sport of corresponding size and required features. The selected sites are prepared by posting the Rules of Play, providing second-hand equipment, and transcribing the game layouts using a few chalk or paint lines. Neighbourhood residents and partner organizations work together as stewards of the game sites, sharing the responsibilities and reaping the rewards of being active participants in their city.
Calgarians can find game sites by downloading the free smartphone app or by using the ‘analogue’ paper map. Either way, participants might discover a downtown location to play handball over lunch hour or visit a new neighbourhood while hunting for the best croquet lawn. Previously invisible vacant sites become destinations drawing people together in the spirit of sport.