The blog for inspired travel with children

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On the Web: PlayGroundology and Magical Urbanism

From Playgroundology, who found it on Architektur fur Kinder

I'd like to introduce you to a couple of my favorite websites - PlayGroundology and Magical Urbanism. These sites are not travel sites, exactly, but they are a terrific resource for the traveler nonetheless - and I think they're particularly terrific for the traveler with children.

PlayGroundology is a rich compendium of all things playground, from all over the world. The site looks at not only the nicest playgrounds, but also simply interesting ones, wherever they are found.  However, the site's primary focus is really play itself. There are posts on films, art exhibits and installations, playground news, old photographs, and other fascinating tidbits, all related to play and playgrounds. You can search by country - the U.S. and Canada are heavily represented (the writer is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia), but there are also posts from Tunisia, Hungary, Sweden, and beyond.

From a recent post on Singaporean playgrounds and new stamps celebrating play - the Toa Payoh Dragon Head Playground

The other site that has recently grabbed my attention is Magical Urbanism.  This one's a bit difficult to search by country, but get lost in it anyway - you may discover the inspiration for your next trip. This site catalogues the moments of urban life that take you by surprise, inject a little joy into the environment, or simply brighten your day when you encounter them... the kind of things I want my child to experience wherever we are. These aren't necessarily big destination places, but primarily everyday sites, made better by art.  In one post he points out the fabulous Toledo Metro Station in Naples, designed by architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca and involving a number of artists including Robert Wilson and Francesco Clemente. What child (or parent, for that matter) wouldn't thrill to a subway ride beginning here?

These benches, created by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein, would be so fun to encounter on a walk through De Haan, in Belgium, if that's on your itinerary... They hold an obvious appeal for children.

And look, look, at the amazing "Slinky Slings Bridge" in Oberhausen, Germany (by Tobias Rehberger and Schlaich Bergermann and Partner) - my son would love it.

I love these sites because they aren't travel sites - they don't tell me what famous sites we "must" visit - but they do inspire the explorer in me. They make me want to get out there and look around. They don't highlight "adult" places or "kid" places, but rather human places - places that are good - inspiring - for people, period. And more than anything, when I travel with my kid, I want him to be inspired, along with me.

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