City of Charlotte, NC. - We aim to reimagine the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where low income kids, their families, and people of all ages want to spend time and exercise their active minds, bodies, and souls. In order to do that, we intend to do a spring demonstration project that inserts playful interventions and tests permanent changes to a large open space where unused, uninviting, vacant fountains currently sit in the corridor of government buildings.
There is nowhere in the City that the separation between work and play is more visible than in the City's government district, where the urge to stay inside is stronger, and where function and efficiency have been prioritized over play and fun. To reinforce this separation, people most often interact with government when they need something or are compelled to do something, (e.g. get a permit, pay a bill, or go to court). Families often walk by as they are traveling to conduct business with government during the day, and depending on that business, it can often be a stressful and uncomfortable experience. But, it doesn't have to be that way. We want to add a moment of joy, rest, and discovery to the experience of those families, and to create a lively and level playing field, where government workers, and the people are all invited to interact or simply relax with each other on the GovPorch.
Passersby will be invited into the plaza with colorful footsteps on the sidewalk leading to the area of play. The interventions on the plaza we are inserting fall into three main categories and include:
1. "A Playground for All"
A. Colorful porch swings
B. Platforms that cover the unused fountains that kids and visitors can sit on, climb on, and play on with themes that prompt discovery (See c. and d.)
C. Outdoor bean bags
D. An iconic custom hornets' nest for children to play and climb on
E. Ping pong tables
F. Life size legos and cars - a mini build your own Charlotte
G. Shade sails so rest and play can be more comfortable
2. "A Library Garden"
A. Colorful, glow-in the dark pots and plants
B. Rocking chairs for adults and children
C. Wall fountains
D. A library station where kids and grown up kids can borrow books
3. "Accessibility and Connection to the Public"
A. Child-painted stepping stones that traverse a grade change that separates the space from the sidewalk
B. Platforms with colorful seating to provide more activity between the project and public realm
C. Fun, Can-Do signage
-Monica Carney Holmes
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