Play and the City

Play and the City

How to Create Places and Spaces To Help Us Thrive

Alex Bonham


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Play is essential, for children but also adults. It's how we relax and revitalise ourselves, build and maintain friendships, try new things, learn and innovate.

Cities have always been sites of play, bringing people together and pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible. And now we need our cities to encourage and facilitate play of all kinds more than ever. If we want a world for our children to play in, we need to have a go at doing things differently.

A city that is enjoyable to live in - that provides welcoming spaces, plentiful resources, and an attitude of 'yes, you can' - is a playful city. A city that is good for eight-year-olds as well as eighty-year-olds is a city that's good for all of us.

By looking at how different cities across space and time have sought to encourage and facilitate play, Bonham shows us how to conceptualise our own contemporary city as a game, and encourages us to become participants rather than spectators.

Play the city! Get involved, make a difference and help to bring your city back to life. There is help here to identify opportunities, build a team of friends and allies, take part - and win!

It's time to make your move.


Alex Bonham:
ALEX BONHAM was raised in the UK, and worked in publishing and the arts before travelling overland to her mother's native New Zealand in 2008. She now lives in Auckland with her husband, two children and a pack of dogs and campaigns for a more vibrant and sustainable, all-ages-friendly city. She has two Masters degrees, one in Law, the other in Drama and she is currently working towards a doctorate on the Playful City.