Elisava Research’s project ‘Shared Playscapes’ proposes temporary playgrounds in public space

30 Mar 2023

SHARED PLAYSCAPES is a system of mobile urban elements to promote free appropriation of public spaces, focusing on temporary interventions in pacified spaces related to primary schools in Barcelona and Milano.

SHARED PLAYSCAPES aims to promote the activation of these spaces, based on the concept of playable cities and through the lens of collective play, by designing temporary playscapes through a co-creation process involving primary school students aged between 6 and 12 years old, the research team, and the municipalities concerned.

SHARED PLAYSCAPES explores public space co-creation at both infrastructural (informing design decisions for a shared, temporary public space) and mediation levels (establishing a shared link between schoolchildren from different countries). His expected result is to prove the capacity of children to identify and develop strategies of free appropriation of public space as well as their capacity to establish long distance communication systems using game-based formats and playful logics.

The project has been designed and developed by a team of researchers from Elisava Research (UVic-UCC), directed by Dr. Roger Paez (PI), and including Toni Montes, Manuela Valtchanova, and Mar Gené.

Collaborative temporary space design

The project explores new forms of collaborative temporary space design implicating end users, based on co-creation processes driven by three core concepts: free appropriation, material re-use and playable public space.

The process consisted of the development of a series of tools, interfaces and actions that has facilitated a very intuitive design process, the organisation in co-design work sessions in the schools and the direct implementation of a limited series of selected results in order to be tested in the assigned public spaces.

The work has been organized in 3 phases. First, the design team organized a co-creation session in each school, where students worked in both the space and the graphic exploration. Second, the research team collected, classified and selected the results of the co-creation process. Finally, the selected results were implemented and tested in real situations.

Geometric simplicity and adaptability to the environment

Twelve urban mobile elements generate elevated horizontal wooden surfaces. Re-used wooden planks are supported by a custom-made metallic structure sitting on top of four wheels that allow the elements to be easily moved as well as to be fixed in any position. The geometric simplicity of the elements, coupled with their mobility, constitute its main characteristics, and allow SHARED PLAYSCAPES to become a system that can easily adopt multiple configurations to react to changes in public space.

Part on a European research project

SHARED PLAYSCAPES is part of the FURNISH-KIDS European research project, co-funded by EIT-Urban Mobility. The FURNISH-KIDS research project consortium includes CARNET (leader), BARCELONA CITY COUNCIL, MILAN CITY COUNCIL, ELISAVA, IAAC and UPC.

FURNISH-KIDS continues the research work and direct social impact of the project FURNISH -FURNISH COVID-19 (2020) and FURNISH XKIC NEB (2021), both funded by EIT-Urban Mobility-.