Missed the launch events for ‘Urban Playground’? Watch again and read more here

A global audience of well over 400 people took part in the two launch events for my new book Urban Playground just over a week ago. This post shares recordings of both events.

Watch the full 90-minute launch event – hosted by Urban Design London on 24 February 2021 – below:

To watch the hour-long Bernard van Leer Foundation-hosted event the following day – which had a global perspective and participation – head here.

Screenshot from BvLF online launch event

Written-word fans can download the full text of a 7-minute talk summarising the book here [pdf link].

Launch coverageThe highlight of the media coverage was a lively feature in the Guardian by panellist Olly Wainwright – published on the day of the second launch event. The piece perfectly captured one central message from my book.

Simply building ‘play reservations’ – sterile, boring, fenced-off play areas that look more like prison exercise yards than joyful places for play and exploration – is not good enough. Such spaces are if anything part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Screenshot of Guardian article by Oliver Wainwright

Global reach and potentialI was delighted and surprised by the depth and breadth of expertise, experience and interest in evidence. The audience for the first event had – as expected – a big contingent from the London Boroughs. But it also included folk from Leeds, Bolton and Newcastle, from UK-wide NGOs, and a scattering of people from overseas.

At the second event, people signed up from over 50 countries. Staggeringly, nearly half the registrations for this event came from Brazil (over 150 in total). There were also 25+ people from each of the UK, USA, Netherlands and Sweden; around a dozen each from Canada, Israel, Colombia, Mexico and India; and representation from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, China, Guatemala, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Russia, Rwanda, Taiwan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. This shows the truly global potential of child-friendly urban planning as a transformational process.

I would like to thank everyone involved in each of the two events. A special thanks to Urban Design London and Bernard van Leer Foundation for hosting the webinars, and promoting and organizing them so effectively. I am also hugely grateful to the amazing panellists, chairs and interviewers, whose lively observations and insights made both events so memorable. See this post for more on the format and speakers for each event.

Book ordersOrder Urban Playground now from the RIBA online bookstore here (ships worldwide). It is also available to order via bookstores and online retailers in a number of countries. The UK-based Book Depository (an Amazon-owned company) currently turns orders around in 1 day, and ships the book worldwide free of any postal costs (please check this still applies).

An ebook is available via the Taylor and Francis online bookstore. Amazon is also selling a Kindle version.

For a sneak peek and more about the book’s content and design, head for this post of mine (note that the discount is no longer on offer).

Finally, look out for a dedicated Urban Playground page on my website, where I will share full order details alongside reviews and reaction.

AcknowledgementThanks for Marini Widowati for screenshots of the events.