I was struck this weekend by a photo in the New York Times, seemingly of a modest group of adults on what looked like a jungle gym in the Bronx:
Turns out the article was about how New York City is installing adult playgrounds geared towards fitness and are having a great deal of success with it. Which got me thinking about the possibility and merits of such an effort in Detroit at the neighborhood level. With an aging population (ages 24-29 are the most frequent age group to leave Detroit), it seems there might be some merit in catering to the needs of folks that may find benefit from an adult outdoor workout facility. Added bonus: finding a vacant lot in neighborhoods other than those in the downtown core isn’t so difficult. Not to mention the benefit of meeting some neighbors over a set of shoulder shrugs and increasing your metabolic heart rate in the process.
SO! I won’t make any personal guarantees, but this could be a cool project to take on DL! style– perhaps as one of the outputs of our continuing effort to use “After the Factory” as a funding tool to create on-the-ground projects in the city (our current one is the race car track on Georgia Street). If we could get some traction creating these, it might be neat to target neighborhoods that have had success with community gardening. In those areas, we install an adult playground as an addendum to that successful effort, and use the kind of neighborhood engagement that the garden created to successfully initiate the adult playground. Then, both sites grow with participation and we get healthier people and neighborhoods. That’s a simplified progression, but still tangible enough to act upon quite quickly.
What do you think? Worthwhile endeavor? Silly rose-colored lenses vision? Chime in on Facebook if you feel so inclined.