Announcing 2 launch events for ‘Urban Playground’

I am very pleased to announce not one but two online events on Weds 24 and Thurs 25 Feb 2021 to mark the publication of my book Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities. Each webinar features lively formats and diverse sets of expert participants, and both are free and open to anyone who signs up.

Event 1: London Calling

The first event – already widely publicised – is on Weds 24 Feb from 4 to 5:30 pm GMT and is hosted by Urban Design London. A short presentation from me will be followed by a discussion chaired by leading architect, child-friendly cities advocate, and design advisor for the Mayor of London, Dinah Bornat.

Dinah and I will be joined by the following panel:

Matt Bell is Director of Corporate Affairs at the global property company Grosvenor Britain & Ireland. His job includes leadership of their campaigns to rebuild public trust and champion community success. 

Jo McCafferty is a Director at Levitt Bernstein and leads the practice’s housing studio. She sits on numerous Design Review Panels, and co-authored the second edition of The Housing Design Handbook, published in 2018.

Sripriya (Sri) Sudhakar is Head of Regeneration at London Borough of Tower Hamlets and an architect, urban designer and urban planning professional with extensive experience of public realm projects, regeneration, town centre development frameworks and master plans.

Oliver Wainwright is the Guardian’s architecture and design critic. He trained as an architect and has worked for OMA, Muf (on playful public space design) and at the Architecture and Urbanism Unit of the Greater London Authority. His book Inside North Korea was published in 2018.

Event 2: Taking On The World

The second event the following day (Thurs 25 Feb) from 1 to 2 pm GMT has a more international flavour. It is hosted by Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), a supporting partner for the book and funder of my research. BvLF is planning to arrange Portuguese translation for the event.

It will kick off with a ‘fireside chat’ and Q and A with Darell Hammond, the founder and former CEO of US community playground-building NGO Kaboom! Darell is a leading global social entrepreneur and play advocate who until recently was a strategic adviser for BvLF’s Urban95 initiative.

The conversation will expand to take in three municipal champions who work in three of the cities featured in the book:

Tullio Ponzi, Executive Secretary of Urban Innovation in Recife Municipality. Tullio has been part of Mayor Geraldo Julio’s administration for 6 years.

Anuela Ristani, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, and was previously chief of staff for Mayor Erion Veliaj. She has also worked for the Albanian government and the World Bank, and has a background in business and marketing.

Bosmat Sfadia Wolf, departmental head with Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, and was until 2019 Urban95 project leader with the city. She is a trained architect.

Both events will close with Q and A sessions to allow for wider engagement with the online audience.

I am thrilled that such a prestigious, experienced group of people will be marking this moment. Feel free to join us at one or other of these events (or if you are really keen, both). And if you have originally signed up to the first event, but now want to attend the second instead, UDL would appreciate an email to, so they have a better idea of attendance.

URLs with sign-up details each event are as follows:
Urban Design London 24 Feb:

Bernard van Leer Foundation 25 Feb:

The Book

You can order Urban Playground now from the RIBA online bookstore (it ships worldwide). It is also available to order via bookstores and online retailers in a number of countries.

Download a 20-page pdf sample from here. [File size 18MB. For the full effect, use Acrobat Reader’s ‘Two Page View’ setting, and make sure you enable ‘Show Cover Page In Two Page View’.]

3 responses to “Announcing 2 launch events for ‘Urban Playground’

  1. Pingback: Missed the launch events for ‘Urban Playground’? Watch again and read more here | Rethinking Childhood

  2. Lorraine Driver

    Sadly where I live umpteen flats and 1 unchallenging play area
    No other outside play facilities
    The Council run a postcode system where affluent areas get better play parks

  3. Christine Dunworth

    Sounds a wonderful idea to me. I’m no intellectual, just a mum grandma n great grandma who feels so sad that children don’t or cannot play as we did in our childhood 💔 and beyond in some cases. When I look back I wonder how we didn’t break our necks falling out of trees or off walls trainspotting etc. We didn’t have loads of toys or money, but we played out from dawn till dusk having adventures 🤔 😒 good luck with this fab scheme xx

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