The exhibition PLAY! aims to highlight the importance of the play and show how and where it takes place in the city. All children have the right to play! Children must play to develop. That is why children all over the world play with what is at hand in their everyday lives and in the places they have access to.
How do we in Sweden view children's play? What place has playing had to take in the city through the ages? What place do we give play today? In the last hundred years or so, places, where children can play, have undergone a radical change. From having played on the streets and in backyards at the turn of the last century, today's children are offered designed and safety-adapted playgrounds where the ground is often covered by colourful rubber mats. How did it get that way? Children's play is the same now as then. Children still most often choose to play in the bushes, even though we adults offer lavish and designed play equipment where we think the children should be.
The question of what place play may take in the urban environment is complex. In the increasingly dense city, the land is precious. To plan therefore means to balance different needs and desires against each other. Housing and traffic, industries and trading places must be accommodated at the same time as there must be space for parks and nature. In the tough negotiations about what the space should have for use, it is often difficult to assert the children's need for space for everyday environments where they can move, play and develop. It is therefore important that planners, the decision-makers and the public must know how important outdoor play and freedom of movement are for each child.
We who have made this exhibition want to remind you of the game's self-rewarding and free nature. With the exhibition PLAY! we want to invite you to reflect on play and play environments. There are many good arguments for planning a child-friendly and playful urban environment!
PLAY! is a collaboration between the City of Helsingborg, Form/Design Center in Malmö and Tankesmedjan Movium at SLU. This is a further development of the original exhibition PLAY! which was developed in 2019 but is now presented with updates and additions about Helsingborg. The exhibition is shown in Slottshagen in Helsingborg during H22, but the content is also presented in English here.