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City Leisure and Play

Nick Cheung and Dr. Benjamin Shirtcliff, Department of Landscape Architecture, Iowa State University, 715 Bissell Road, Ames IA 50011

The City Leisure and Play research project analyzes how urban public spaces prompt pro-social behavior. This is achieved by studying everyday activities in urban spaces, looking for evidence of social interactions influenced by space. Evaluating the abundance of visual data social media provides, an understanding of the appropriation of public places is obtained as people create and interact with places of play. Adolescent behavior became the primary subject given their prominent usage of social media and unique interaction with the built environment. Observing young people shows flexibility in pro-social behaviors and captures diverse interpretations of play in perceived play spaces. The relevance of this research is augmented by the implications of a global pandemic, requiring a refined analysis of how people interact with public spaces. A crisis of this scale provides an opportunity to observe the resilience and equitability of existing urban design. This project employs an inductive research approach, requiring the collaboration of four different teams each responsible for an aspect of the research process: searching for visual data, coding identified behaviors, mapping locations, and creating illustrations of discovered play patterns. Examining public places through the lens of social media reveals that youth and space appropriation are vital in creating more inclusive spaces that contrast with dominant social constructs within urban environments. As innovators of play in public space, adolescent insights obtained from social media prove that opportunities for urban design to accommodate play in a post-pandemic era are possible. Ephemeral experiences in appropriated spaces prove that public places can be transformed to allow for social opportunities anywhere and anytime. The presentation of these collective findings will address how urban design can engage social interaction and equitable rights to the city, allowing diverse demographics to inform and experience public spaces.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Nick Cheung

Institution: Iowa State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Architecture & Interior Design

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2046