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Das Lego Bridge

Lego bridge in Wuppertal, Germany by Megx. Photo by Lukas Power and Rolf Dellenbusch via This is Colossal

Lego bridge in Wuppertal, Germany by Megx. Photo by Lukas Power and Rolf Dellenbusch via This is Colossal

Street artist Megx has transformed the underside of a bridge in Wuppertal, Germany to look like a bridge made of legos.

The bridge is painted as an optical illusion (the surfaces are flat) and transforms a blank space in to a space of delight and wonder.

Beach Party on Eagle Street

Eagle Street Beach Party and Fiesta. Photo by iBerkshires.

This past July, Eagle Street in North Adams, Mass. was transformed into a beach with beach balls, pails, shovels and 250,000 pounds of sand.

The Eagle Street Beach Party, a free event which started in 1999, is organized by the North Adams Office of Tourism and Cultural Development.  Local vendors give away prizes for creative sand castles an sculptures, and food and music cap the day.

An innovative way to transform a public space in to a surreal and delightful playground.

99 Tiny Games in London

Showtime, a free outdoor arts festival in London presented by the Mayor of London and the  London 2012 Festival  just wrapped up “99 Tiny Games” (running from July 28th – August 20th) which spread small games with instructions for individuals and groups in public spaces all over London’s 33 boroughs.

Photo via Pop Up City

Photo via Pop Up City

These games took place in a variety of urban spaces including metro station walls, under archways, near statues and at bus stops.
Showtime says  their motivation for this series was inspired by their “belief that play – as a theme, art form, way of being and design tool – is integral to understanding how culture will develop in the 21st century.”

This is a great example of how we can inexpensively contribute to lively public spaces and joyful experiences in our cities.

Pop Up Swings

Pop Up Swings in London. Photo via Sustainable Cities Collective

Pop Up Swings in London. Photo via Sustainable Cities Collective.

Today I found this image of “Pop Up Swings” installed near bus stop in London. This swing set was designed up industrial design student Bruno Taylor who says: “This project is a study into different ways of bringing play back into public space. It focuses on ways of incorporating incidental play in the public realm by not so much as having separate play equipment that dictates the users but by using existing furniture and architectural elements that indicate playful behaviour for all.”

Similar projects have popped up around the globe (including the more formalized The Red Swing Project) and all tap in to similar ideas. The great thing about installing these delightful swings at a bus stop is that they can help to activate a drab public space by introducing playfulness and they also function as an incentive to ride pubic transportation.

How? Well, you know the expression “time flies when you’re having fun”? Having a joyful activity like to Pop Up Swings to watch or participate in while waiting for the bus will make your wait time seem shorter and shorter wait times incentivize the use of public transportation because the wait will not feel as burdensome (especially if you are accompanied by children, seniors or are carrying a heavy load) and makes the experience of waiting for public transportation less intimidating.

Mini-libraries in Bogota

Mini-libraries in Bogota, Colombia (Photo via African Library Project)

Mini-libraries in Bogota, Colombia. Photo via African Library Project.

Recently I stumbled upon this image from the African Library Project of a mini-library kiosk in Bogota, Colombia. These mini-libraries are from Paradero Para Libros Para Parques (PPP) a program whose goal is to promote literacy across the country. There are over 100 kiosks across Bogota, and according to PPP’s website, the libraries are open 12 hours per week and are staffed by volunteers who answer questions, organize activities and also help children with their homework! The program is a part of Fundalectura in association with city parks department. You can see a short video about the project here.

Indoor spaces can feel exclusive and sometimes intimidating. Forty-seven of these kiosks are spread throughout neighborhoods in Bogota, making them very accessible to anyone who walks by.