Playful Commons is a research project exploring new licenses for playful use of public spaces.

Playful Commons builds on the Creative Commons licenses, as well as on the practices of urban game design and participatory spatial practice. The Playful Commons can be thought of as a network of public spaces, pre-approved for playful activities – without the need to ask for further permits.

Playful Commons addresses the interconnected challenges of two groups: users and administrators of public spaces.

Often, users of public spaces face boring and mundane environments that are either neglected or optimized for commercial activities. As surveillance and regulation grows, users are criminalised. In most cases, users are distanced from decision making processes and separated from the definition, design and creation of public spaces.

At the same time, owners and administrators of public spaces have legitimate concerns about the security of their spaces and the safety of their users, are liable to accidents and work to prevent misuse or damage to their property and business interests.

Playful Commons aims to overcome this dissociation of user and administrator perspectives in the production of public spaces. We envision Playful Commons as a middle ground, an evolving toolkit for:

  • Debate: inform public debate on the regulation of public spaces. Playful Commons aims to communicate options for play in an easy to understand and consistent manner, allowing citizens to compare, understand, and playfully engage with the spaces around them.
  • Licensing: enable owners and administrators of public spaces to allow for clearly defined kinds of playful uses, in order to create high quality, safe and fun environments.
  • Design: influence the design and construction of new public spaces.

The Playful Commons project is developed and managed by Jennifer Aksu, Gilly Karjevsky and Sebastian Quack.

See how to participate here.

We’d love to hear from you – you can email us here.

Playful Commons talk @ Re:Publica 2015, Berlin