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Play Space

Explore the unexpected ways that innovative play space helps children and communities grow. Together, we can design a more playful Philadelphia!
Play Space Design Awards
Play Space is a partnership between the Community Design Collaborative and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) to explore the design of innovative play spaces for Philadelphia. 

Why focus on play space? Play is an essential part of every child’s life and a vital component of learning. Play encourages imagination, independence, and creativity. Play teaches problem solving while encouraging social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

Play spaces offer children and their caregivers opportunities to interact, teaching them patience and understanding and strengthening basic social and conflict resolution skills. They provide a venue to build strong interpersonal relationships, making them a crucial element in healthy childhoods, strong communities, and family friendly cities. Yet many families, childcare centers, and schools in Philadelphia have limited access to high quality outdoor play spaces or use play spaces that fall short of being rich environments for learning and play.

Play Space challenged designers, public leaders, educators, childcare providers, families, and communities to share their perspectives on play space and to re-imagine outdoor play spaces for Philadelphia’s libraries, recreation centers, schools, sidewalks, and yards.

Precedent Exhibition | August 2015 through September 2015
Art of Active Play | August 2015 through October 2015
Design Charrette | October 2015
Design Competition | September 2015 through March 2016
Play Talks | Various Dates
Exhibition | October 2016 through December 2016

Community Design Collaborative
Delaware Valley Association for the Education of  Young Children (DVAEYC)
William Penn Foundation


Read all about "where design comes into play" in our special report on Play Space in GRID magazine or download the PDF. 

News and Happenings
The path to playground safety and innovation
"Innovative efforts have brought the playground story back to where I started forty years ago…  and now there is a whole community of people on the same path," says Betsy Caesar,...
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Risky Business: The dangers of playgrounds that are too safe
Meghan Talarowski is the founder and director of Studio Ludo. She recently spent six months in London studying playgrounds and collecting data on user demographics, behavior and...
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Summer of Play
Two inventive Collaborative volunteer teams brought playfulness to public spaces this summer. One team designed giant P-L-A-Y letters and other fun stuff for Philly Play's Day of...
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Play It Up
Check out Daniel Jost's column in the July 2016 issue Landscape Architecture Magazine, where he writes about our yearlong campaign to promote the value of recreation in...
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Making the World Better at Waterloo
Waterloo Recreation Center, one of three sites that were the focus of our Play Space design competition, has received $200,000 from the Make the World Better Foundation to kick...
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Community Choice gives people a vote in Play Space
Darren Cottman is the Adult/Teen Library Supervisor of the Blanche A. Nixon Branch/Cobbs Creek Branch of the Free Library.  When Darren was offered the opportunity to involve his...
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NEA Art Works Award to Support Play Space
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement...
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Op-Ed: Rethinking play space for children in Philadelphia
"We believe public space that encourages children to play is a vital contributor to creative, capable children and safer, healthier communities," stated executive directors Beth...
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Play Space Design Awards show where "design comes into play"
  On Wednesday, March 16, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to see the nine finalists of the Play Space Design Competition. Each finalist team—chosen from among 40 inspiring...
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Play Space Design Competition Finalists Announced
In September we released a global call for entries to our Play Space Design Competition after identifying three locations to serve as inspiration—a school, a library, and a...
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