WASHINGTON, June 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives from Gensler and select city leaders join national non-profit KaBOOM! today for an exclusive event in support of Playability. Made possible by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the event features scalable solutions for cities through play. As part of the conversation, KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, reveals 241 communities across America that are making play a priority with the 2015 Playful City USA announcement. The national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable.
Hopscotch sidewalks, structured recess programs, mandated neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days and mobile recreation vehicles are all ways in which these communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents. Cities at the vanguard of Playability last year are making strides to become even more playable. Building on the success of the Cyclobia program and realizing the need to focus specifically on lower-income neighborhoods, Brownsville, TX created Cyclobia2U which brings the Cyclobia program directly into lower-income neighborhoods. Chicago, IL is transforming schoolyards, neighborhood spaces, and libraries into active spaces for the community that prioritize physical activity, learning, exploration, and community engagement. York, PA has a Play Everywhere subcommittee which is beginning to implement a bus shelter that will host a parking space and a cement area for play activities.
New cities being recognized this year include Thomasville, GA for its work to introduce Playwalks, which incorporate hopscotch, balance lines, shape hops, and other activity at locations such as bus stops. Mayor Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, MD believes that play is a vital component of her vision to grow the city by 10,000 families, turning vacant lots into playful spaces.
"Playability is crucial to the success of our future communities, and we are proud of the work these cities and leaders are doing to provide a better quality of life for all residents, and especially families," says KaBOOM! President James Siegal. "Play provides a competitive advantage for cities looking to attract and retain residents. With these esteemed leaders, and our friends and partners across the country, we continue to prioritize play for everyone."
Carolyn Sponza, Director of Community Studio at Gensler adds, "Playability, and the notion of the playable city, has the potential to expand our thinking in the planning process and design solutions. Integrating play into our civic landscape creates family friendly environments that appeal across generations and create opportunities for the balanced and active play needed to thrive."
Municipal leaders, as well as philanthropic, community development, and design sector representatives from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas discuss how their fields intersect with Playability, creating equitable play opportunities for all and ways to advance the movement. Leading the discussions at the event are:
- Eric Shaw, DC's Director of Planning
- Carolyn Sponza, Director of Community Studio in the Gensler Washington, DC office
- Mayor C. Kim Bracey of York, PA
- Mayor Bridget Newton of Rockville, MD
- Vu Dang, Assistant Deputy Mayor for Health, Human Services, Education & Youth for Baltimore
To see more on these cities, the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org. Take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.
About the Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation's leading health care companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humana's corporate headquarters, the Foundation promotes healthy behaviors and healthy relationships. The Foundation's key funding priorities are childhood health, intergenerational health, and active lifestyles. For more information, visit www.humanafoundation.org.
Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our associates, the communities we serve, and our planet.