Claudia Pilsl

Playing Out in the City

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Assertion
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loosening space
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PLAYING OUT IN THE CITY

‘Playing Out in the City’ is an exploration of how children navigate urban space through improvised play. To think of urban space as a process instead of a series of physical entities opens up the opportunity to recognize everyday practices that question fixed spatial meanings. The act of playing somewhere other than the dedicated locations raises questions about the city’s rules and boundaries. David Harvey (2003) argues that cities are processes of time and place and not closed entities, and that these multiple spatio-temporalities produce frameworks where social processes take place. Children respond freely to the physical qualities of urban space and spatial practices such as climbing, running, skipping or den building not only temporarily loosen space but also create new spatial enclaves within the city. Through the act of playing, children not only assert their ‘right to the city’ but also query some of the structures which might be otherwise taken for granted.