Copenhagen: the playful city

An aerial view of the power plant showing the landscaping of the green surface of the ski slope on top of the building.Play in urban environments has evolved from free spirits in the streets, to carefully constructed play parks with modular play equipment. The trend is moving back again into adventure play. More broadly, our cities need to be more playful for everyone. This is important for mental as well as physical health. Places that cater for all ages and preferences encourage social interaction as well.

A sunny day in Copenhagen brings out the swimmers at the outdoor baths that are edged with timber boardwalks.An article from Alice Covatta discusses the notion of a playable city. Using a case study of Copenhagen in Denmark she discusses how the concept of play is woven into the fabric of the urban environment. The most famous example, of course, is the ski slope of the green waste power plant in the industrial district. But there is also the outdoor harbour bath at Brygge Park. The key lessons from Copenhagen are a multidisciplinary approach and thinking about play as sustainable design. Reusing wasteland offers plenty of scope for creative design and for playgrounds of the 21st century. And of course, it’s a healthy city approach reaching people of all ages. 

The title of the article is, From infrastructure to playground: the playable soul of Copenhagen. The Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health has more on this topic.


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