At this year’s Agitagueda art festival in Águeda, Portugal, the city council commissioned a canopy of colorful umbrellas to hang over one of the city streets. Photographer Patrícia Almeida says “I felt like a kid, amazed by all that color!”
Not only do these beautiful umbrellas add a sense of playfulness to this street but they add a ton of shade, making strolling down this pedestrian street on a warm day a much more comfortable experience.
Public art can create a destination, a gathering place, a refuge, inspiration and a sense of civic pride and it’s wonderful to see local government supporting and encouraging such dynamic public art projects like this one.
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.
April Aguirre of the blog I Am San Fernando has declared that a portion of Van Nuys Blvd (between San Fernando Road and Foothill Blvd) to become Mural Mile. These murals are projects born of passion, love and pride for community and create a connection between the residents and their community.