Creative Uses of Public Space

So you’ve read all about loss of home territory and you feel enraged. Want to take back the street from the cars and don’t know what to have there instead? Courtesy of a mad brainstorming moment in the Car Busters office here we have, in no particular order of preference, our suggestions of how to help rebuild community spirit, encourage laughter in your streets and make your neighbourhood a fun place.

A list of ideas that might be helpful

• Community gardens, orchards or vineyards

• Blind-friendly garden, with very tactile and scented plants and flowers

• Disabled-friendly garden, with raised flower beds to enable gardening from a wheelchair

• Urban wildlife recovery zones—wild flowers, plants, animal and bird boxes

• Giant chess sets or board games

• Playgrounds for adults—climbing frames, slides, roudabouts, bouncey castles, whatever!—all in adult size

• Playgrounds for k ids (oh, that ’s so traditional!)

• Sculpture parks—ones you are allowed to touch and climb on

• Tables for playing cards, chess, dominoes, or whatever the old men in your town most like to do while “chewing the fat”

• Art walls—paint what you wish, or put up poetry, stories, photos

• Community free box—”give and take” clothes, furniture, books, etc.

• Band stands/music stages and regular events for all ages

• Climbing walls and hanging ropes for climbing (and a few monkeys?)

• Sandy beaches and sand castles

• Waterparks, fountains, paddling pools and outdoor swimming holes

• Petting zoo—where kids get to touch (presumably not each other)

• Bumper cars (non-electrified) or bumper boats

• Bonfire heaps with monthly fire night and barbeque

• Community bulletin boards—local events, rideshare, buy/sell…

• Big inflatable punch-bag-type things—for stressed execs, bored housewives or jilted lovers to take out their tension…

• Hammock zone (with beer coolers if you bring your own)

• Windmill (at first we said this just because we like them but then we realised they also have an educational value on sustainable energy!)

• Footprints, giant boots and feet for climbing on, and hollow foot shapes or any creative form of stepping stones

• Ice rink or 1970s-theme rollerskating complete with music by the Village People!

• Picnic tables and free tea dispensers

• Neighbourhood sauna and/or hot tubs

• A maze (for you and your pets)

• Arts and crafts market

• Garden growing biomass products for making energy, which can be given free to anyone who can use it

• Sewage sinks—i.e., reed beds that can be used for natural/compost toilets

• Pedal-powered video/cinema screen

• Duckponds—with ducks!

• Or a frog lake—real frogs, frog spawn excitement for kids and food for birds (and Frenchmen!)

• Grindstones, spinningwheels, weaving looms, pottery ovens, etc.

• Windchimes and musical instruments made from natural products

• Sexual liberation zone—with red lights, free condoms, pink triangles, thigh-high boots, rainbow flags, phallic-shaped bush sculptures and so on..

These are our suggestions, take them and go wild!

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