Parks, Plazas, Public Spaces: Designing for Communities at Play

Orientation, April 11 & 12
Friday at Stanford (Studio 2) 2-5 PM + Saturday 10-2 PM in San Francisco

Workshop 1: April 19
Workshop 2: May 3


… because playgrounds aren’t just for kids

Public spaces are more than just physical sites for individuals to obtain fresh air and sunlight. Spaces that invite “play” encourage people from all walks of life to gather, interact, and create shared understanding. Such behavior fosters social trust and contributes to stronger, more resilient communities.

In this workshop, we examine how different social groups define “play” and engage their surroundings. Using the context of cities and urban life, the workshop’s activities include an introduction to human-centered design, the typologies of public space, theories of urban adaptation, and a team project involving hands-on fieldwork and empathy-building exercises.

Teams will collect instances of spatial appropriation for play; identify factors (social, demographic, environmental, architectural, and aesthetic) that facilitate these activities; and propose interventions that enhance existing spaces, or offer new ways for citizens to play and recreate.

Note: Interested students may also consider taking the 10-week International Urbanization Seminar (China): Cross-cultural Collaboration for Sustainable Urban Development.

Teaching Team
Deland Chan, Urban Studies
Kevin Hsu, Urban Studies
Caroline Chen, Public Health
Angelina Yu, Chinatown Community Development Center

Enrollment limited to 15 graduate and undergraduate students. Applications close March 31 at 11:59pm. Apply here:
Parks, Plazas, Public Spaces: Designing for Communities at Play