In Public


Adventure Playground, Islington, London, c. 1957
Adventure Playground, Islington, London, c. 1957

Junk playground
Junk playground

Mini doc on contemporary adventure playgrounds

See also Adventure playground: a parable of Anarchy

Starting from the ’50s Architect Aldo van Eyck designed innovative playgrounds and was part of a broader rebellion against modernism: “Functionalism has killed creativity, it leads to a cold technocracy, in which the human aspect is forgotten. A building is more than the sum of it’s functions; architecture has to facilitate human activity and promote social interaction”. He also had ties with the Cobra movement and Situationism.


Founded in 1967 by an artist and architect and a filmmaker, Group Ludic was a French collective who created visionary playgrounds through participatory design.
Founded in 1967 by an artist and architect and a filmmaker, Group Ludic was a French collective who created visionary playgrounds through participatory design. More info

group ludique 2


Robert Winston, Playsculpture, 1961
Robert Winston, Playsculpture, 1961
open-ended playground in Brooklyn NY, 1967
open-ended playground in Brooklyn NY, 1967
imagination playground rockwell group
imagination playground rockwell group

Some contemporary sculptural, experimental playgrounds here
And a dedicated blog
+ Pioneers and visionary playground designers

City as playground

Urban skating


Parcour in the Gaza Strip. A low cost activity about overcoming obstacles and generally hostile environment (banlieue in Paris etc).
Urban Golf
Urban Golf

see also Bocce Drift

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The Situationist practice of psychogeography and drifting, was theorized in ’50s but it has since been developed by artists and game makers into a genre of strategies for exploring cities, taking pedestrians off their predictable paths forcing them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.

The central distinction that must be transcended is that established between play and ordinary life, play kept as an isolated and provisory exception. “Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life,” writes Johan Huizinga, “it brings a temporary, a limited perfection.” Ordinary life, previously conditioned by the problem of survival, can be dominated rationally — this possibility is at the heart of every conflict of our time — and play, radically broken from a confined ludic time and space, must invade the whole of life.

-Contribution to a Situationist Definition of Play – Guy Debord / Situationist International

Contemporary examples:

Transition Algorithm
by Suyin Looui, 2006

The Rules
1. Visit a neighbourhood in transition.
2. Take a photograph(s). This photograph documents physical changes to the neighbourhood and street life, whether they are juxtapositions, conflicts, changes in language, ideals and politics, interactions between people, old/new, rich/poor …
3. Take home a souvenir. This item cannot be purchased.
What would you take home to remind you of this place?
It should be a souvenir of the place you have visited and that marks the changes taking place in the neighbourhood. The souvenir can also be a memory of an overheard conversation or interaction.

You are not there
An urban tourism mash-up. It takes place in the streets of one city and invites participants to become meta-tourists of another city. Download a map, take your phone with you and go tour Gaza through the streets of Tel Aviv or Baghdad through the streets of New York.

SF Zero

A community-sourced game comprised of micro challenges, usually psychogeographic, performance-arty, urban interventions, or mischievous daring tasks. Players join groups that have specific interests and missions. Examples of tasks:

“Insert information in a place that has an absence of information”

“Create a sculpture by arranging things you find on the street”

“Post a copy of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your workplace lunch room. Document how long it takes for HR (or somebody else) to take it down.”

“Tip, in a non-tipping industry.”

“Create a message here on earth that is visible from space. The message can be text, pictures, or both. It must be large enough to be legible on Google maps or Google earth.”

See also
Invisible Playground – playful urban projects
Come out and Play – new/street game festivals – check the archives
Ludocity — archive of new sports and street games

Flash Mobs

Flash mobs

The mp3 experiments sometimes have gamelike elements

Tiny Games

99 tiny games


Casual Games for casual hikers / city walkers / protesters

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Casual Games for casual hikers site


City Walkers

casual games feature

“METAKETTLE IS A GROUP GAME for 20+ people, played to pass the time while being kettled. The aim of Metakettle is to be the dominant kettling animal by kettling everyone else.”

Camover – subversive gamification

Urban Interventions

Street art/public space intervention by Democratie Creative et al.

Pervasive games
Expanding the magic circle gamifying (before the gamification fad) urban environments and social interactions.

Killer: The Game of Assassination (1981)

Indirect assassination methodsare very creative

Cruel 2 B Kind a game of benevolent assassination

A machine to see with and other mobile technology based works by Blast Theory

Ingress by Google. Augmented Reality Game that is actually gamifying data collection

Big Urban Games