Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | KOMO News

Several Seattle crosswalks are getting a new rainbow-colored coat of paint to celebrate Pride Week, and the city is planning to make them permanent.

Eleven of the rainbow crosswalks were unveiled Tuesday, including one at 10th Avenue and Pike Street on gay-friendly Capitol Hill.

Local groups have been campaigning for the crosswalks for a couple of years. They cost about $6,000 each, and are being paid for by fees for new private developers on Capitol Hill.

via Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News.

I love these not only because they are symbols of gay pride, they are also colorful and playful symbols of the neighbor’s character. Public art that the public engages with every time they cross the street.

Check out the Seattle Rainbow Crosswalk‘s Facebook page to see more pics and get more updates.

Toybombing – fancy mouse

Oh, hello, I am here to be fancy. In your randomly placed shrubbery.

Report encourages children to play outside more to combat lack of physical activity

scientiste:

More compounding research driving home the need for children (and grownups) to get outside and play.

Originally posted on Global News:

WATCH: A Participaction report shows kids need risky outdoor play that is good for their health. Global’s Shelley Steeves speaks to a mom who fully embraces that idea.

RIVERVIEW, N.B. – Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity according to a new report card by a national health advocacy group.

According to ParticipACTION’s report on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave Canadian kids a “D” grade for overall physical activity.

The report’s chief scientific officer Dr. Mark Tremblay also believes that kids are not spending enough time playing outside unsupervised.

“Parents have convinced themselves and trained themselves or certainly the social note is that if you keep kids indoors then they are safe,” he said.

When in fact he says failing to get enough self-directed outdoor play can lead to long-term health risks.

“If we bubble wrap ourselves and sit down and don’t move,” he said. “No, we are not…

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Yoko Ono’s “Sky Landing” Is Coming to Chicago’s Jackson Park

scientiste:

I recently got to visit Chicago and was excited to see all the public art and architecture in the downtown, Millennium Park area. This is a great continuation of that focus on public access to art and enrichment.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

sky1 Restoration of Jackson Park / Project 120

On a rainy afternoon, surrounded by musicians, dancers, and dignitaries, artist Yoko Ono spoke at an “earth healing” ceremony, celebrating the dedication of the site of what will be her only permanent installation in the Americas, Sky Landing. The installation will be in Chicago’s Jackson Park, on the Wooded Island, which is currently undergoing extensive restoration work, including the reconstruction of natural areas and the creation of a new pavilion.

Sky Landing will be located on a site adjacent to the Osaka Garden in Frederick Law Olmsted’s bucolic park. The site is historically significant, as it is the location of the original Phoenix Pavilion, which was built in 1893 as a part of the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition to promote American understanding of Japanese culture and as a means to unite the East and West. The original pavilion burned to the ground…

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Toybombing – Mountain Goat Kid Traversing the Urban Canyons

https://instagram.com/mbethkelley/

A little plastic goat views the valley below his window sill.

I took a couple of weeks off, but I am now getting back in to taking little toys out into the world and taking pictures of them in unique environments, creating little vignettes in the wild.

I’ve upped my game a bit and am going to start leaving them out for people to find. The tricky thing, and that adds to the fun, is there’s no way to control how long  these toys will stay put before people notice and decide they want to play with them themselves. This one was placed somewhere near Pioneer Square.

You can see some of my previous toy-bombings here and here. And of course my travel bunny buddy. Or just follow me on Instagram.

Another shot for scale

Another shot for scale

Green Spaces In Cities Help Close “Well-Being Gaps” Between Rich And Poor | Co.Exist

It’s a morning of enriching spaces! I am so thrilled to see this work come out as part of the advocacy for green spaces for all!

Do Green Spaces In Cities Help Close "Well-Being Gaps" Between Rich And Poor? | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Can neighborhood green spaces help close the gaps in health between people of different incomes and backgrounds?

That’s the tantalizing proposition of research by Rich Mitchell, a professor at the University of Glasgow, and colleagues. They suggest that green places are not only good for our health and well-being, but could also play an equalizing role in our cities.

Where you live can have a huge bearing on how healthy you’re likely to be. And, sometimes the gaps open up over just a few miles. A few subway stops in New York, for example, could mean up to nine years difference in how long someone might live.

Mitchell’s research, while still at a relatively early stage, suggests green-space might serve to reduce these gaps.

The research doesn’t prove the strength of the relationship between individual neighborhood services and well-being, but does show that well-being gaps are smaller where services are better, Mitchell notes in an email. Research he’s conducting now, which hasn’t been published, does show green spaces having the strongest bearing on well-being differences.

more via Do Green Spaces In Cities Help Close “Well-Being Gaps” Between Rich And Poor? | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

To make our cities inclusive, we need to make them playful again | CityMetric

To make our cities inclusive, we need to make them playful again | CityMetric

A million times yes! This article focuses on one of my biggest pet peeves and challenges as a play advocate; play not being taken seriously.

The author, Hilary O’Shaughnessy, and also the producer of the Playable City Award, discusses her play competition and the usual rub of people asking whether this is really all “worth it.” I’m quoting over half of her article, but she very eloquently covers an entire blog post I was planning on writing (I will still write it, I promise):

Amongst the usual squeals of anticipation [around the competition], there are questions about the value of these ideas to the “real” world. Fun is all well and good – but surely fun is the stuff we get to when the grown up work of building hospitals and roads is done with? When we’ve fixed the economy, let’s play. Cities are full of problems, why are we not fixing them first?

Herein lies the real issue. When we see play simply as fun, a whimsy for those of us lucky enough to have the time to engage in it, we underestimate the transformative power of play and it’s role in our lives.

Fixing problems, making our living and working spaces more livable and resilient, designing better cities, starts at every level with the people that Iive in those cities. Increasingly we are realising that our cities are designed for exclusivity, so it makes sense that we don’t feel part of shaping the future. This is revealed in the language we use to describe our relationships to the services and organisations that our cites are made of. We want them to fix it, they don’t want us to have a say, they give money to them to exclude us: the language is divisive and separating, and that’s the problem. Even the descriptions of the projects fail to deliver what they promise, because a playable city is experienced, not described.

The idea of what our cities should mean, how public money is spent, what we imagine as good for us and who is involved in designing them, is only ever addressed when we have a complaint or we feel excluded. We talk to the city council when the road is road is torn up or the lights won’t come on. We complain that our voices are unheard, but we never seize opportunities to speak, fearing that if we do we will be ignored or shouted down by the loudest ones.

This feeling of separation cannot be undone overnight. We need new approaches, new tools, and new ways to talk to one another about how to live together in cities.

From a different article, but an example of using play as political protest: a device placed in large potholes that tweets whiny complaints when it is run over in order to publicly shame govt. into action.

Conversations about the future, about how we want to live, have to begin from a level playing field, and crucially that level playing field may not be where we expect. Play is a leveler: when we play, we play as humans, first. Traditional status markers like wealth, celebrity, or qualifications are not really much use when invited to dance with your shadow or conduct lights like a demi-god.

Addressing problems and finding solutions that work for us all begin with inviting everyone into conversation. Play as unexpected interventions in familiar places act as invitations to connect, an offer to begin to talk about those parts of our cities that we feel excluded from. To new eyes and ears, some projects can seem esoteric – but that is because we have become numbed to dull public announcements, badly designed flyers and clunky websites which act as information dumps that no-one reads, let alone takes as an invitation to work together. Yet, this is important stuff: we need to talk about the kind of future we want or it be will be decided for us while we look the other way.

via To make our cities inclusive, we need to make them playful again | CityMetric.

You can read about this year’s shortlist and the final winner at the Watershed website.

An End to Forgettable Stormwater Management?

scientiste:

Love this.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

PennypackerCovers-FinalFront Artful Rainwater Design / Island Press

As our climate becomes more unpredictable, finding better ways to manage stormwater is crucial to mitigating flood damage. However, traditional stormwater management strategies can be unforgettable at best and unsightly at worst. In the new book, Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, authors and Pennsylvania State University professors, Stuart Echols, ASLA, and Eliza Pennypacker, ASLA, prove that this doesn’t always have to be the case — it is possible to effectively manage runoff without sacrificing aesthetics.

In this well-organized how-to guide for designers, Echols and Pennypacker highlight the benefits of Artful Rainwater Design (ARD), a term coined by Echols in 2005 to describe rainwater collection systems that are not only functional, but also attractive and engaging. These systems are usually designed to handle small rain events and the initial — and dirtiest — events, rather than major flooding from large storms…

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Playing in the garden: Kids learn about gardening, bugs and flowers at WSU Extension

This is a great example of how even “country kids” – all of these kids come from communities surrounded by farmland and agriculture – enjoy and appreciate hands-on experiences and learning about gardening and the natural environment.

Kids learn about gardening, bugs and flowers at WSU Extension | All Access | goskagit.com

About 70 classmates participated Thursday in the Washington State University Skagit County Extension Master Gardener’s “Discovery In Gardening — Is Terrific” (DIG-IT) youth education program.

“It introduces kids to how the garden works, from the growth of the plants to how it arrives in your kitchen and what to do with the scraps,” said Master Gardener Chuck Howell.

The program was started in 2002 by two teachers, Master Gardener Gail Messett said.

The format of the program has changed over the years, Messett said, but the goal has remained the same: Get kids outside and into the garden.

“They’re learning respect for insects and bees and flowers,” Messet said. “I think they go home pretty awestruck, actually.”

more via Kids learn about gardening, bugs and flowers at WSU Extension | All Access | goskagit.com.

Draw A Walking Route In Whatever Shape You Want | PSFK

Looking to have a little fun with your walk? Now you can use mapping technology to do so…

The Trace app will let you turn a sketch on your smartphone into a physical walking route around a city. You can share your route with a friend, and the recipient gets step-by-step directions. Eventually, the app will reveal the shape on a map.

The walk creator can add signposts along the way—images, audio recordings, messages—which will pop-up at specific places in-route. Walkers can begin their walk anywhere in the city, and pick the duration of their walk. The app adjusts the size of the shape accordingly.

Sixteen walkers in Seattle, Boston and Chicago tested out Trace for a week, drawing over 150 shapes. They sent the walks to friends or tried the routes themselves. The results were presented in a study in Seoul, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI conference last month.

more via Draw A Walking Route In Whatever Shape You Want.