Mike Lanza has long been an advocate for safe and livable streets that allow children a safe place to play freely outdoors and meet other local children. He has coined the term "Playborhood" to describe the ideal neighborhood social situation for kids: "A place where children, ideally from more than one family, play outside on their own on a regular basis - i.e. at least a couple days a week."
Lanza is in the process of turning his front yard into a type of "public outdoor family room" where neighborhood residents can gather to talk, get to know one another and play together.
With many local school-age children headed off to summer camp this summer, Lanza was concerned about both the lack of opportunity for younger children to play freely and safely outdoors, and their missing crucial opportunities to learn and observe play and social interaction among older kids. To remedy the problem, he's starting an initiative called Camp Yale. However, it won't be a structured camp with strident activities and regulations. The goal of Camp Yale is to guide children in free play amongst themselves until they are ready to play independently of adults -- and then, teach the next generation of neighborhood children by example.
For more information, visit the Playborhood blog!
Playborhoods can also be a part of big cities. The Come Out and Play Festival, a weekend-long event that turns public spaces into giant play areas for children, will take place in NYC from June 12th-14th. The event combines new technology, like GPS, smartphones, texting and bluetooth, into classic childhood activities such as kickball, chalk drawing and treasure hunts. Referencing sense of place, the festival provides an opportunity for children and adults alike to come together around play while exploring thir city in new ways.