Places Where Play Supports Climate Action: The Real Play City Challenge 2022 shortlist  

Climate change is a looming global crisis and public play spaces need to be intentionally designed to become climate resilient. In the Real Play City Challenge Category- Places where play supports climate challenge, cities and urban practitioners have been shortlisted for contributing remarkably to climate change mitigating efforts in their cities and communities.


Find out more about how they are transforming public areas into more climate adaptive play spaces for children and the entire community:




Holistic Actions for Development and Empowerment (HADE) – Kampala, Uganda:

Majority of the children in Kampala, Uganda lack access to play spaces, and the opportunity to enjoy a playful and child-upraising life. For this reason, HADE collaborated with children and their mothers to co-design a climate-friendly play space for children in Kamwanyi, an urban ghetto community where recycled products collected by mothers are used.


By recycling community trash into valuable materials and toys for the play space, HADE is able to create awareness of how play supports climate action. Furthermore, the play space, which is a co-designed community space, empowers young women to focus on their businesses while their children safely learn and play.



Erect Architecture – London, United Kingdom

Rainwater is a precious resource that can transform a regular public space into a more beautiful and biodiverse space and Erect Architecture demonstrated this through the redesign of Holland Park. In the new design, they treat the flow of water as a vital design and play feature. When it rains water runoff is collected in swales and channels, it flows over cascades and water wheels and feeds new wetlands. Bridges and other crossings link play zones.


This contributes to climate change mitigation efforts because the rainwater runoff used to create a play experience also solves local flooding. It responds to the nature deprivation suffered by many inner-city children and was co-created through intensive workshops with them and the neighbourhood. It uses natural resources, water, planting and natural materials, to create a place of adventure and exploration.


Evergreen Canada – Ontario, Canada

In collaboration with landscape architects and a local school board, Evergreen is co-creating a climate ready school ground that is adaptive to climate change. The entire school ground is being transformed by adding seating, shade and natural beauty, to increase biodiversity and reduce the flooding and heat island effect.


The aim of this initiative is to demonstrate how Canadian school grounds can be transformed into nature rich climate resilient hubs of play and learning while working to mitigate heat, manage storm water, and provide vital space for habitat restoration, community placemaking and environmental literacy.


Peaton Cix, Ocupa tu Calle Lima, Peru

Peaton Cix started the ‘Urrunaga Cares for You’ initiative in Peru to allow children and their caregivers to enjoy an improved urban environment specially designed around their needs. This is being achieved through the application of the Proximity of Care Framework for the development of an inclusive masterplan for the area.


Challenges such as lack of shade and heat sensation were directly addressed through the masterplan by including elements of play and rest spaces under existing trees and greening initiatives. This initiative so far has achieved increased activity in the public realm and also inspired communities to propose similar initiatives in their areas.


This strategic initiative seeks to build resiliency by setting out proposals that tackle the different stressors that affect the area, including climate related (vulnerability to flooding – e.g. El Nino – extreme heat, draught) issues as well as infrastructural, political and economic issues.


Hadeer Saeed Dahab Cairo, Egypt

The “Makanuna al-Khalifa” is a local project that allows children and living in the al-Khalifa neighbourhood to take an active role in designing and influencing the neighborhood’s public open spaces.


This initiative has resulted in a regional collaboration project titled “Makanuna: Re-thinking Spaces from a Youth Perspective” during the Tandem 360 programme. During the first two phases, they up-cycled and designed their solid waste as outdoor furniture and interactive games at al-Khalifa Heritage and Environmental Park, and used their organic waste to create natural compost for the park.


Space for Play Netherlands, Amsterdam

The “Grey goes Green” initiative by Space for Play, provides cities with the tools to create climate adaptive play spaces and also provides children with inclusive and diverse play spaces around their school. It also empowers children and their communities to take climate action themselves through a hands-on and playful process.


They created the Golden Process which comprises of climate & play lessons, co-design, co-construct, co-maintenance lessons which give cities the knowledge required to create climate resilient spaces that empower children. In the last 16 years, the golden process has been successfully implemented in over 30 schoolyards.




Going to School, the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation – Mumbai, India:

Play City equips children in government schools with the sustainable skills they need to solve climate change city challenges. Children design games that as many children as possible can play together outside, across the city.


Through the Play City initiative, children follow the steps to re-design places to play, to become more sustainable, powered by solar, with vertical farms. Games that kids can play across the city are designed, racing against time to include as many players as possible and together, play to solve the crisis. This offers a powerful learning experience that teaches children about the importance of having a climate resilient city.


Play City is designed to challenge other mega cities like Bengaluru and Mexico City, to be scrappy, to enable children to make their cities sustainable places to play.


Indore Smart City Development – Indore, India:

Indore, located in central India, is a commercial & education hub of Madhya Pradesh. It is amongst 25 most densely populated cities of India with 12% of population being between the ages 0-6.


Due to rapid growth and stress on majority of the population, lack of exposure to nature increased. To tackle this, the “Breathe & Play Freely in Clean & Green Indore” initiative was created. This initiative focuses on developing play spaces to support climate action. So far, 504 open spaces have been converted to play spaces, sponge points, and oxygen banks for Indore.


These spaces are being developed as parks at city level/urban forest, neighbourhood level & pocket parks to ensure hierarchy of spaces, and so far, 7 projects have been implemented.


Every entrant on this list is doing incredible work to help create more climate resilient public play spaces, and the Real Play Coalition recognises every single one. In this category, two winners (one city and one urban practitioner), will be awarded at the Real Play City Challenge on the 18th of November, 2022. Stay tuned to our social media channels to get the latest updates on the award ceremony!