The creative space program is a Link and Speeltuin Noordsepark initiative in which our aim is on how public space can be a hub for creativity through free play, art, and creativity.

Speeltuin Noordsepark, as a playground recognizes in public space a relevant opportunity to develop soft skills in children and offer a complementary (and in many cases out of the box) education. Simultaneously, we also believe in the importance of free play like the way in which children explore the world, create their own reality and learn important social skills.

Therefore, we want to provide both perspectives; on the one hand, by means of placemaking build an environment that stimulates children to be curious and explore the world in their own terms. On the other hand, give children an informal structure where they can further expand their interests and the tools to sustain over time creative activities and stimulate creative-structured thinking.

We want children to be active participants of their community and through a playful way develop three main goals:

Free Play: How to interact with the world with a flexible mindset focused on trial, error, and exploration.

Creative Thinking: Use art and creativity as a trigger and a process for out of the box thinking and focus on finding multiple solutions rather than focusing on a problem.

Accountability: How can children take ownership of their space and recognize the impact they have on it.

Through this approach, some of the results that we have seen are that the children involved in the program are showing more and more drive to express themselves and to ask questions in which they can build further on their interests. Furthermore, at a bigger picture, we see the need of new ways of programming in public space in which the playground becomes a fluid and dynamic organization in which more than administrators, the playground’s team provides the tools for the development of multiple projects geared by the interests of their community.

This ongoing project has brought more questions on how to intervene in public space, such as:

How can playground’s yield new perspectives on how free play and creativity aid in the formation of flexible perspectives for children?

How playgrounds become hubs to be the first step capture creative and artistic interest on an informal setting?

How can neighborhoods playground’s become the connection of specific local communities to the city?

As for now, we are busy answering these questions in the aims of developing a methodology on how playgrounds can become creative hubs and free places of exploration.

by Jimena Valenzuela