Pop-Up Playgrounds to Combat Youth Obesity

Courtesy NYT

Obesity is a growing world-wide problem and the USA is widely considered the cholesterol-filled heartland of the issue (3 puns, 1 sentence!). Unfortunately, like so many issues that we face it seems to be the poorer areas that suffer the most. In NYC, pop-up parks are being trialed to help get the youngens interested in exercise. The NYT’s reports:

During a two-month period last year, seven civic coalitions in New York neighborhoods like East Harlem and the South Bronx got permits from the city to close certain local streets to traffic for designated periods of time — say, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a summer weekday. Working with the police and other city agencies, they re-designated the areas as temporary “play streets,” encouraging neighborhood children to use them forexercise and offering a range of free games, athletic activities and coaching.

The article notes that’s a key challenge when combating obesity in  low-income neighbourhoods is that the urban environment itself often discourages activity. NYC is hoping pop-up parks will go some way to changing that. Could we see such a thing over here? Do such things happen here already? Let us know in the comments.


  1. It also has something to do with the proliferation of fast food restaurants in low-income neighbourhoods. I think they find it less restrictive that trying to locate in an upmarket neighbourhood both from a planning and design perspective but also culturally.


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