For kids, sometimes the simplest objects—like a cardboard box or a spoon—can make for the best toys, especially when resources are limited. In Amman, Jordan, where public parks are few, two architects Sarah Abdul Majid and Sandra Hiari designed what is essentially a modular wooden box to address the need for street furniture and playgrounds for children.
Called Playscapes, the simple, low-cost system is formed by flat, machine-cut modules like pallets that stack or can otherwise be joined together by way of wooden rods. This versatility makes assembling an ad hoc jungle gym, cubby house, planter, or outdoor seating, for example, a snap. The temporary structures are sturdy enough to be climbed, and can easily disassembled and transported.
Although the architects conceived of Playscapes for the local community, they’ve received interest for the project outside of it as well: “This is an idea that can be implemented in refugee camps because it is something that is temporary and can be easily put together,” Majid told Dezeen.
Indeed, the easy-to-assemble (and ship) blocks can be used to activate vacant spaces, transforming them into places of play and community gathering. Playscapes can even be scaled down to be used at schools and nurseries.
Majid was inspired by her work on the Amman 2025 master plan for the Greater Amman Municipality (through which she met Hiari) to implement ideas through grassroots efforts rather than through formal channels. These “small urban interventions” have made all the difference.