In too many societies today, play is struggling to find a place in the lives of children. The informal settlements created by rapid urbanisation often result in austere, hazardous built environments, leading to low-play lives and ‘play poverty’. In South Africa, we have been working in Khayelitsha Township, an informal suburb of Cape Town, to provide its children with safe and stimulating opportunities for play in the settlement’s public space.
What, though, does a play-friendly city look like? To inform this debate, we collaborated with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and LEGO to develop an Urban Play Framework. This holistic tool assesses a city on its play infrastructure and ecosystem as well as the time and opportunities for play it offers its younger residents. Khayelistha was the first settlement to be assessed using the new framework.