What’s the Hubbub?

June 16th, 2010

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— Laura Leone @ 3:22 pm

Jane Games

Dutch designer Kars Alfrink has been putting Jane Jacob’s urbanist principles into practice the fun way–turning public spaces all across Europe into interactive playgrounds for kids and adults alike.

“I was inspired by Jane Jacobs and her thoughts about the emergent, complex order of city life,” said Alfrink, who founded Hubbub, the first design studio specializing in physical social games for public spaces this year. “I think there’s a real role for urban games there… [they] can be used to encourage good citizenship, to improve social cohesion and to enable cultural participation.”

With Jacobs in mind, one of his recent inventions involved a three-week competition in which participants explored their neighborhoods through photos and scored points for shots snapped in various situations.

“[We took] this idea of Jane Jacobs about the charms of city life being the many interactions with strangers and came up with a game that would gently encourage casual interactions in the neighborhood,” explained Alfrink.

“I think of this game as a way to kind of amp up the diversity of uses of the streets. I don’t want to see streets be used just for shopping and commuting. There’s more to life than just this.”

With this spirit, the New Village Press-sponsored Toward Just Metropolis Conference will be hosting its own urban games this Sunday, June 20, in locations to be announced throughout the Bay Area. To learn more about the fun to be had at this lively event, visit http://www.justmetropolis.org.

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