Casey is city of playgrounds proclaims a headline in a recent edition of the Cranbourne Leader, a daily published in Australia’s Victoria State. It’s a small yet wonderful story. It’s not often that local governments are commended for their commitment to playspaces, or choose to market their playground assets.
The story was picked up from a City of Casey news release that speaks to the local government’s development of a playground strategy in 2010. As it turns out, playground strategies are popular in Australia’s town and cities judging by the number that are posted online.
In many countries, local governments are the stewards of public space play. They make the zoning, planning, design, procurement and budgetary decisions. In the best case scenarios, the management of public play spaces presents opportunities for civic engagement through advisory committees, neighbourhood mobilization and other avenues.
To date, I’ve only come across one program, Playful City USA developed by KaBOOM!, whose primary intent is to recognize best practices of local governments and their residents in making play a priority in their community. It is a model that could be adapted to other jurisdictions to encourage and assist communities to build on the good work for play that they have underway.
Bravo to the City of Casey and to local media for reporting on the city’s commitment to play.