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.
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.
Street artist Calder Greenwood creates paper-mache sculptures of people and animals and places them around some neglected space in Los Angeles including our river (51 miles long and so important to our city’s history!), an empty pit in Downtown and a grassy knoll (also in Downtown L.A.).
These sculptures seem so out-of-place in these spaces but they allow you to imagine the potential of that particular space and in the case of the pit for example, you realize how large it actually is in comparison to a person and all of a sudden, that large space seems more like a wasted opportunity for something that can enhance our own quality of life.
Artist Ramiro Gomez wants to draw attention to what he and other advocates consider an invisible population – the labor force that takes care of our families and homes.
A recent UCLA study found that a vast majority of home health care workers, child care workers and housekeepers in Los Angeles County were working overtime for no compensation and that 35% of maids and housekeepers and 75% of child care workers were being paid below the minimum wage.
Gomez says he wants to create a conversation and engage people who pass by wondering if the cutout is real or not and “hopefully bring more recognition where recognition is definitely deserved”.