Real Play Coalition Opens Award Call for Cities Who Use Play to Address Global Challenges

On the 29th of June, 2022, the Real Play Coalition (RPC) announced the launch of the 2022 Real Play City Challenge, an international competition run with PlacemakingX that celebrates and awards inspiring uses of play to tackle the major challenges the world is facing. Submissions are now invited and can be made until 4 September 2022.

Play is an essential right that nurtures children’s wellbeing, skills development and resilience, but many urban environments lack opportunities or a city-wide strategy for play. 100 million children worldwide are currently not getting the time or space to play that they need and the number of children growing up in cities is expected to increase from 50% to 70% by 2050.

The 2022 edition of the Challenge is set to celebrate and award inspiring cities and urban practitioners who have created places that give people time, space and opportunities to play as a way to help children and communities tackle three global challenges:


  • Places where play heals people, allowing communities to revive, to heal and to reconnect in places affected by conflict or disaster
  • Places where play supports climate action, such as adjusting public spaces to beat heat stress, prevent flooding, improve biodiversity and climate resilience or harvest rainwater
  • Places where play unites us all, regardless of age, wealth, gender, physical or psychological challenges, cultural or spiritual beliefs

On the launch of the 2022 Challenge, Jerome Frost, Chair of Arup’s UK, India, Middle East and Africa region, said: “As we design and create new urban spaces, we urgently need to work out how to improve them for the next generation. The number of children growing up in urban environments will continue to grow, and the right approach can both improve their experience of living in cities and, if done well, it will bring communities closer together. This competition provides a platform for designers, city makers, policymakers and community-led initiatives shaping our cities, to present their most impressive solutions, and hopefully inspire cities around the world to follow in their footsteps.”

Announced at the World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland, the Challenge is seeking applications that will inspire other placemakers and convincingly show governments, international organisations and other urban professionals why and how they can create more playful spaces.

Alongside cities, the Challenge also invites submissions from urban practitioners – individuals or organisations – to demonstrate how they have created healthy, inclusive and inspiring places for play within the community itself.

Entries will be evaluated by a jury panel, with shortlisted initiatives announced at the Placemaking Week Europe between 27-29 September 2022. Six winners will be awarded in November 2022 and, alongside the global recognition and promotion of their work, will benefit from specialist training workshops to help accelerate or scale up their project. Viviana Cordero Vinueza, Partner Huasipichanga and leader of PlacemakingX, the international placemaking network, said: “In this fast-paced world, children report that they have increasingly less time to play. The 2022 Challenge will showcase inspiring public spaces that bring back the time, space and opportunities for children to play. Using Placemaking for city development goes hand-in-hand with children’s development.”

The competition was first launched in 2019, and is organised by The Real Play Coalition, together with PlacemakingX. Cities and placemakers can find more information, register their interest and enter the challenge, Entries close on 4 September 2022.



About The Real Play Coalition

The Real Play Coalition is a pro-play alliance between National Geographic, The Lego Foundation, IKEA (Ingka Group), Unicef and Arup, helping the people and organisations shaping our towns and cities to fully understand and unlock the value of play to children and communities. Find out more at

About PlacemakingX

PlacemakingX is a global network of leaders who together accelerate placemaking as a way to create healthy, inclusive, and beloved communities. The network is represented by Huasipichanga and STIPO in the Real Play City Challenge. Find out more at:

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