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City Conversations – The Playful City

Engineering Club
Tue 22 Jan 2019

Cities are generally becoming more planned and their spaces more controlled. But unplanned and playful spaces, where the population can indulge in often marginal activities with very little administrative and commercial control, are key to the vitality of urban areas.

The city can be host to unregulated movements and activities such as: skateboarding and rollerblading; recreational cycling from Regents Park to Dunwich Dynamo; park games such as frisbee and rounders; climbing and running – parkour; ‘wall’ sports such as handball and fives; rivers, docks, lakes and ponds for swimming and watersports; urban cricket; basketball, and games that are invented to fit a particular place.

Do cities need to create more opportunities for these activities to happen? Can they be planned and can we make them both attractive and safe at the same time? Do these places and activities need to be protected? How can they be valued to keep the formal development at bay?

We have invited a number ‘players’ to describe the activities and places that make up their playful city. We want to find out what makes them attractive and successful. We will explore in conversation the importance of these ‘discovered’ playful activities to the life of the city and wellbeing of its citizens.

Contributors include:

- Christophe Egret, Studio Egret West

- Sebastien Foucan, Foucan Free Running Academy

- Emily Scoones, Ramboll / Eton Fives Association

- Jane Wernick, engineersHRW

- Christian Spencer-Davies, AMODELS

- Dr Oli Mould, Royal Holloway University of London

Chair: Steve Williamson, Happold Foundation

Those attending will be invited to participate in the discussions and describe their own places or activities in the Playful City. 

The event is free but booking is essential. Your information may be shared with our event partner The Happold Foundation for the purposes of running the event. Please refer to our Privacy Policy for more information on how we process your data. 


City Conversations is a series of informative thought-leadership discussions around the big issues that are changing our cities – growth, technology, resource efficiency and climate change. The conversations address not only the new and changing infrastructure of cities but also how these are brought about and their impact on the lifestyle and wellbeing of citizens. They are produced by The Happold Foundation and ngenuity with support from The Built Environment Trust.


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