Lonely Playgrounds

There are quite a few unused little playgrounds in our neighborhood on Þingholt. This neglected swing waits on Þórsgata, just a short distance from the towering Hallgrímskirkja.

I don't know why kids don't use them, unless it's some kind of feng shui issue...bad chi and all that. What is it that makes a public area, no matter how big or small, attractive? Here's a wonderful article on the art of playgrounds that gives a few clues.

There's something about these empty benches and lonely swings that evokes a bittersweet nostalgia every time I walk past one. They make me sad, but at the same time, as long as they are set aside as playgrounds, no matter how poorly maintained by the city and the neighborhood, there exists some strange sense of hope.

7 comments:

Jean-Francois said...

Why is it that all swings are made of tires? Any reason or just plain coincidence?

Anonymous said...

i started to murmur,the song "this used to be my playground" just minutes before i ve checked your blog. it looks like a nice playground, the first photo is especially nice.

Anonymous said...

i ve meant the photo no3 actually.

Maria Alva said...

The cool thing about that playground (number 3) is that it's tucked away in an odd location, making it seem less lonely and more special, like a secret discovery.

Professor Batty said...

I got a kick out of the way children in Reykjavík use public art spaces for amusement...I once watched a nine year old make a complete traverse and ascent of the statue west of city hall.

Maria Alva said...

So true! My daughter likes to use the large, obtuse sculpture in front of Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík as a jungle gym/slide. And the other day I saw two teenagers practicing soccer at the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Gardens. I kind of like the idea that kids feel that art is an active part of their environment.

Anonymous said...

My kids have spent a good portion of their holiday so far playing in this exact playground!!!