Every neighborhood has a story to tell

These stories evolve from all the elements that make a place unique: a combination of history, economics, class, race, and location to name just a few. Entering a community as an outsider, no matter how good the intentions, is fraught with opportunities for misunderstandings that are often impossible to predict. “We enter as guests, and as guests we need to respect those who have a connection to the place.”

The Playful Learning Landscapes community engagement process is designed to uncover all of the elements that make a community unique, including its history, culture, values, and hopes for the future. We partner with community-based organizations to design and implement a community engagement process that fits the needs of the project and the people. This process typically includes community mobilization, identification of stakeholders, the co-design process, and prototype testing. We believe that using playful learning games and activities as tools throughout the community engagement process is beneficial to participants while also eliciting rich data. With these strategies, PLLAN helps organizations create playful learning landscapes that reflect their communities.

“Our community was looking at how to help children build their math, literacy and science, then how do we tie these pieces together to help them with their education? Urban Thinkscape holds the promise of giving them a fair shake. This project was introduced in the Belmont Community and everyone’s hands went up saying, ‘I want it! I want it!”

Bettye Ferguson

President / CEO, Belmont Alliance Civic Association PA

What can Playful Learning Landscapes bring to a community?

The goal of Playful Learning Landscapes is to infuse our neighborhoods with joyful learning experiences that encourage cross-generational interaction and enhance children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. Learn more about the importance of a community-led approach.

PLLAN Board Game

Using the principles of playful learning to engage a community

The Playful Learning Landscapes Board Game challenges players to think critically and creatively about spaces where they spend their time. Players are presented with prompts like “Imaging you are the DJ at your neighborhood block party. What songs will you play and why?” that are designed to gather information about the culture and values of the community.

The game relies on storytelling, and in listening to the stories of others. Community members who have played say that they were surprised by others’ responses and excited to share their own experiences. Using gameplay for co-design is a refreshing approach that sparks joy and investment in communities.

The PLLAN Board Game was developed in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia.