The impact of play is often disregarded and undervalued in the discussions around architecture, urban development, and city change. The Urban Conga’s work is highlighting the impact play can have on the health, identity, social, and economic values within the future development of our cities and communities. Play is universal and should be utilized as a vital part of the movement forward in reactivating our communal public spaces to become more inclusive, safe, and healthier places.

The Urban Conga’s work showcases a variety of ways this can start to be explored within our urban development. The studio was recently selected as the winner of the 2021 Architizer A+ Firm of the Year Award for Small Projects as well as the 2020 ArchDaily Best Young Practice. Through receiving these accolades, their work promotes an acceleration in the appreciation and understanding of the value of implementing more play within our changing cities and communities moving forward.

This work is paving the way for city stakeholders, urban designers, architects, and more to start exploring the idea of becoming a “Playable City,” an ecosystem of playable opportunities intertwined within the existing urban infrastructure that doesn’t just disrupt our daily lives but adds to it. Looking at opportunities that explore how play can start to exist in everyday spaces, and begin to encourage people to think about these spaces that could become PLAYcs: like a crosswalk, laundromat, public park bench, street light, or just the everyday spaces in-between.

Investigating how these once often boring or underutilized situations can turn into inclusive, stimulating, creative outlets bringing people together within the built environment.

Photo credit: Savannah Lauren