Innovation Earns 'Playful City USA' Designation

Despite decades-low funding levels for parks and recreation departments, 118 American cities and towns have managed to earn recognition as 2010 "Playful City USA" communities for their efforts to provide time and spaces for play. Created by KaBOOM!, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit dedicated to creating places to play within walking distance of every child in America, the Playful City USA program is now in its fourth year.

Hailing from 36 states, communities from San Francisco and Atlanta to Ottawa, Kan., and Shirley, Mass., are developing local action plans and creating innovative, cost-effective programs, KaBOOM! officials say.

For example, Atlanta - one of 18 cities to earn the Playful City USA designation all four years - is in the process of reopening all of its recreation centers. The city also is partnering with the Atlanta Taskforce at Play (ATOP) to organize the third annual Play Day 2010 on Sept. 25. That day, residents will be encouraged to turn off their TVs and computers, attend an arts festival, play in parks or walk along a scenic 22-mile rail corridor around the city's urban core. Additionally, Georgia Tech's College of Architecture and ATOP are organizing the Playable10 International Design Competition to help make Atlanta a leader in innovative play design.

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