a project by Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra) with The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative
Curated by Lucía Sanromán
Project Manager Shari Hersh

Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge was a community-based experimental urban platform using play, games and performance to reveal, share and celebrate local knowledge produced in South Philadelphia, an area known for its rich cultural and ethnic diversity. A project by Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra), Playgrounds sought the restructuring of urban spaces by promoting new social relations across cultural and economic divides, with the objective of generating just and sustainable forms of collective inhabiting to confront the pressures of accelerated urban development.

From May through September 2015, Playgrounds occupied a lot at 632 Jackson Street, creating a temporary hub space where the demands of daily life were interrupted through play to inspire new spatial imaginaries and political subjectivities. Here CohStra, a cooperative of socio-spatial research, collaborated with a variety of neighborhood partners in a participatory pilot project activating playful ways of critically thinking of land occupation, gentrification, environmental restoration and housing through participatory design, while inspiring cross-cultural communication by generating knowledge exchange through performance, construction and dialogue.

Major support for Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.