For the first time, Cork City has won URBACT European funding to promote play as a means of promoting social inclusion in the city.
‘Make the healthy choice, the enjoyable choice’ is the inspiring principle of Playful Cork City.
Lord Mayor of Cork and ambassador of Playful City, Cllr Mick Finn, will launch the project with an EcCoWeLL seminar tomorrow, Wednesday February, which will explore the development of Cork as a Playful City.
The Play seminar will examine how various aspects of play can support social inclusion, including the reclaiming of derelict spaces in Christchurch post-earthquake, the impact of play on early development, playful place making and utilising the river for play, to name but a few.
‘We are keen to develop Cork as a playful city’ says Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn. ‘We made this bid to URBACT to improve access to quality, unstructured play in the city as this is known to help improve overall health, well-being and development. Through play we can make connections between ourselves and the world around us. Quality play provision creates an environment in which we can be spontaneous.’
Healthy Cities Coordinator, Denise Cahill says: ‘Cities need new tools to face an increasingly complex society of growing urbanisation, chronic disease, ageing populations, climate change and social exclusion. The playful city offers unique opportunities to explore and counteract these modern challenges through innovative and positive place-making based on play, dialogue and enjoyable participation’.
The action plan includes the development of playful places outdoor in city centre locations, local libraries and public parks. A number of ‘pop-up’ play events will take place across Cork city from 2019 – 2021. Play Streets, which was trialled on the Marina in October, will be supported in local communities. With a focus on encouraging inter-generational play and inclusion, the Travelling Toy Bus known as the ‘Ludobus’ will also aim to open up areas of the city not accessed by communities, families and newcomers to Cork.
‘Everyone who is anyone is thinking about play in everything they are doing right now’ says Martha Halbert, Community and Enterprise in Cork City Council and formerly of Cork City Public Participation Network.
‘Playful activities and games promote social inclusion, overcome barriers and build bridges between people, generations and places. We are delighted to partner with Healthy Cities and Learning Cities to explore creative methods of social inclusion’
Cork City already benefits from a wealth of festivals, themed events and family activities in city parks and city centre.
‘Rather than initiating a stand-alone Play Festival we seek to promote fun-filled festivals; working closely with existing events to build an understanding of play and the added value which play could bring’ says Denis Barrett Learning Cities Coordinator.
‘As part of the Lifelong Learning Festival this year we have encouraged a playful approach to events taking place across the city.
Cork City Library will host outdoor games for the week and we will have a Play Day on Sunday April 7th with outdoor games on the Marina hosted by Ballintemple Residents Association and Cork Local Sports Partnership’
The Playful Cork City Project is a partnership between Cork City Council, Cork Healthy Cities, Cork City Public Participation Network, Cork Learning Cities, the HSE and Cork Local Sports Partnership.
Commitment has been made to a number of actions to progress play in Cork City, modelling the good practice of partner Italian city Udine.
‘Many European cities have important play traditions which are yet unexploited’ said Agnese Presotto from the Environmental Policy Unit in Udine. ‘We are delighted to partner with Cork and our other European partner cities to develop a playful paradigm in Europe’