Imagine.
Atkins

Imagine.
 
 “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
 
Our cities and streets have evolved and so has the way we socialise, interact, play and learn. But has this evolution all been positive or have we regressed? Our car dominated streets divide us. Let play reunite us.
 
Looking back, our city’s streets were openly used for imaginative play, games and sport before the dominance of cars took over and divided many communities. The street was a space where friendships were fostered, community values established and street play formed an active part of everyday life.
 
With increasing levels of obesity, high levels of inactivity and a lack of space within our cities the opening up of the space within our streets should focus on fostering safe, dynamic and imaginative environments for all to enjoy. Streets can once again form the focus of our communities and foster greater levels of social cohesion at a local, national and even international scale. 
 
With the advent of automated electric vehicles, the push for healthier streets and the digital revolution upon us the use of our streets have moved on from our nostalgic views of the past. Our streets are becoming cleaner, less polluted, safer and with greater access to digital tools, networks and features that can enhance our street play, sporting challenges and recreational opportunities. Our only limitation is our imagination.
 
The Imagination Street Games - coming to a street near you…
 
Challenges, puzzles and scoring systems can be allocated to real life street play. New spaces and features can be provided combining the virtual with the real. Streets, neighbourhoods and even cities can play, challenge and interact with each other. New York v London: from street chess through to skipping counts to nature trails, a vast array of exciting, challenging and interactive games can be enhanced and new ones created.
 
We have already witnessed the global reach of social media, mass participation in console games and the evolution of smart phone apps into every part of our lives. Apps like Strava, fitness watches with detailed user information and augmented reality games like Pokemon Go are already connecting our physical activity with virtual information and experiences. 
We have an opportunity to go further and reconnect our future generations with the physical world around us. We can move away from only experiencing life through screens.
 
Where our city’s streets once divided communities the opening up of streets for play can reunite us. Children are the evolution of our future and their imaginations can foster a greater future for all of us.
 
Let the games begin! Imagine.
 
Note: This concept was conceived and developed before Spielberg’s Ready Player One movie was released. This film demonstrates some of the potential but also the pitfalls of a virtual world. 
 
This concept is very much about using augmented and digital tools to reconnect to and enhance real world experiences as opposed to creating a virtual world. 

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