A project in partnership with Lambeth Council in London to bring Playful interventions into a public realm development.

The Location

Just off the busy south London A23 artery road, that connects central London with southern England, is a small square in front of Brixton Police Station. The space is a pedestrian thoroughfare with thousands of people walking through daily, connecting them to shops and services.

Before the intervention

Pop-up Park

Over a period of eight weeks Pop up Parks ran a series of pop-up events that rapidly transformed the urban landscape, taking over part of the road and blocking off the cul-de-sac to traffic and parked cars. Using colourful props including bright street tiles, small ramps, a musical fence and a planting wall, children and their families were invited to stop and play on their busy journeys through Brixton. Promoting physical activity as well as individual wellbeing, participants engaged in a colourful tapestry that invited them to think differently about the streetscape. Some felt the dominance of the A23 could never make the space a playful environment while many paused and reimagined the space without cars and traffic. Through play, a dialogue opened up with those participating, resulting in a number of ideas that could permanently find a home in the newly developed Canterbury Square. 

Pop-park events

The Intervention

Alongside the new pedestrian layout, seating areas and the introduction of new trees (led by Lambeth Council), Pop up Parks proposed a playful streetscape intervention: the subtle installation of large boulders and tree stumps fixed into the ground. Children were keen to see more colour in the urban landscape so each boulder retained a streak of the colours they interacted with in the pop-up park. In addition small mirrors were inserted into the tree stumps to bring reflection and the unexpected. The streetscape is a permanent invitation, giving children the permission to play in the street in spaces that are free from traffic.

The intervention