Taylor Partner PlayBuild is an NGO focused on transforming under-utilized urban spaces into exciting kid-friendly environments for play and learning. Full press release below.
From the Playground to the Neutral Ground Together, We Can Bring Play Everywhere
The state of play is about to change in New Orleans. Playbuild was selected as one of 200 finalists out of a nationwide pool of 1,000 applicants in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million, national competition to award out-of-the-box ways to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families—especially for those who lack access to safe, stimulating places today. Playbuild has big ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving here in New Orleans, and they are working hard to win the funds to make them happen. But they can dream ever bigger with your help.
What does it mean to Bring Play Everywhere to New Orleans? Science and common sense agree: kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. Evidence shows missing out on the chance to play puts kids at risk for challenges ranging from obesity to anxiety to trouble adjusting in school. Here in New Orleans, like the rest of the country, not all kids have the same access to places where they can engage in safe, creative activity. That status quo isn’t the right answer for New Orleans. Play is just too important to our kids’ healthy development for anyone to be left out.
Earlier this spring, Playbuild partnered with the Fast 48 weekend workshop, teaching human-centered design for social impact, offered by the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Design Thinking and Social Innovation at Tulane. Over the weekend, several multi-disciplinary teams of public health professionals, business students, urban planners, architects, coders, and community members came together to explore how to improve local community engagement with the PlayBuild current play space and activities operating at Thalia Street just off of MLK. One of the outputs of that workshop was the concept for PL@Y MLK– pop-up play stations taking PlayBuild into the neighborhood. From three years of work in the dynamic neighborhood around Martin Luther King (MLK) Boulevard between Simon Bolivar and Claiborne Ave, Playbuild knows that play brings people together, and is key to making our community a great place to grow up. Yet, resources, incentives, and opportunities are needed for residents to join in the fun. Over the next few weeks they be implementing a small scale test of the concept, and if named as one of the 50 winners this fall, Playbuild will be implementing PL@Y MLK in the fall.
How can you get involved?
We know more places to play builds better bonds—among kids, neighbors, and communities—and those relationships are the foundation for communities that thrive. If Playbuild is selected as a winner, they hope it will be just the beginning of a larger effort to make play a way of life in everyday and unexpected places – sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, open streets. Playbuild is confident their idea isn’t just a great solution for New Orleans. It could be a bellwether for other communities across the nation who want to change the state of play for kids and families.
With more local investment and support, Playbuild can make this vision a reality—and take it to new heights. Contact them to learn more about our idea to turn everyday spaces into PLAYces here in New Orleans.
The Play Everywhere Challenge is being hosted by KaBOOM! in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts.