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Play YOUR way, LA!

Kounkuey Design Initiative

Non-profit organization

Through a virtual game of tag called #PlayYourWayLA and a rip-roaring Park-in-a-Box for all ages, Angelenos will work together to identify overlooked spaces and transform them into playful places!



What does your organization do?

KDI is a design + community development nonprofit that partners with residents in underserved neighborhoods to create public spaces that meet priority needs, build equity + help communities thrive.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

We’re asking you to nominate overlooked, underutilized everyday spaces in your neighborhood — a sidewalk, a vacant lot, a street — that YOU think would be perfect places to play! Tag a spot on social media, spread the word, and once a hundred of your neighbors tag the same spot, we’ll bring a Park-in-a-Box to transform it into an exciting, adventurous space for all ages to enjoy. With #PlayYourWayLA every neighbor can have a say in how to make LA the best place to play.

Which of the play metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CONNECT
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to play?

If you’re one of the 51% of Angelenos living more than a half mile from the nearest park and you want to play in your neighborhood, you don’t have many options. You can twiddle your thumbs until the someone builds a park near you, or form an advocacy group with your neighbors, but it’s pretty hard to make anything happen.

KDI wants to change this. We want to give you an easy way to bring outdoor play to your neighborhood, NOW!

Let’s say your neighborhood has tons of space but nowhere to play. You want to play basketball in the street, but it’s always full of traffic. Or you’re next to a vacant lot that would be a great park, if only you could access it. Or the sunny sidewalk on the corner would be the perfect spot to enjoy street food, but there’s no seating.

What if you could turn those spaces into areas for play?

Our activation will make this quick, easy, and fun! We’ll take care of all the forms and phone calls needed to make it happen. All you have to do to get started is geotag the spot you think should be used for play on social media. Tag it with #PlayYourWayLA!

Get 10 people to tag it, and we’ll come and make sure the space is public and safe to use. We’ll put up a sign letting people know play is on the way, if they keep tagging. You tell your friends and family to tag the spot. Hit 100 tags and we’ll set a date to bring our Park-in-a-Box to that very place. Simple!

Then, we’ll hold a community workshop so you and your neighborhood can make the activation YOURS. Maybe you have lots of young kids in the neighborhood, or you want a space for your knitting group. Our Park-in-a-Box can transform into almost anything — a toddler’s play zone, a craft corner — whatever you want! Every activation will be unique to its neighborhood and the people in it.

Once you’ve planned your activation, we’ll drive our Park-in-a-Box to your neighborhood and PLAY!

There’s no limit to how you can play, or how much you get involved. Maybe you just want to show up and enjoy the activation. Maybe you want to lead the community workshop. Maybe you want a permanent park in your area. If so, we’ll set you up with the networks and know-how to make it happen.

So how are we meeting those LA2050 play metrics?

  • There will be more spaces for play. You’ll enjoy the benefits of open space in your neighborhood, almost immediately, without having to wait for permanent parks to arrive.

  • You’ll have access to unique, vibrant and intergenerational play spaces to suit everyone — because YOU made it happen!

  • You’ll feel safer and more connected to your neighborhood.

  • You’ll create visual data and community interest to show the City where permanent parks are needed and desired.

  • You’ll pave the way for permanent improvements and be able to get involved in making them happen.

You can see that we’re also hitting lots of “Connect” metrics, like rates of volunteerism and public gatherings. Together, we can make LA the best place to play — now, and in the future.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to play

Of the 51% of Angelenos living in park-poor neighborhoods, the worst affected are often low-income communities of color — such as South LA, where residents have 19x less park space than those in West LA. These are the communities we’ll be reaching. Park-poor LA, we’re coming to play.

We’ll take our park-in-a-box on a PLAY ROADSHOW so you can see what’s up for grabs if you join in. We’ll make a cool WEBSITE to give you all the info you need, and post all over SOCIAL MEDIA so that every Angeleno knows who we are.

If you live in a park-poor neighborhood and want to play outside, find a public space and geotag it on social media with #PlayYourWayLA! If it gets 10 tags we’ll MEET you to assess it together. Once we decide it’s viable, we’ll ANNOUNCE it online and put up SIGNAGE.

Your job is then to SPREAD THE WORD and get 100 people to tag the site. Ask your grandma. Hand out cookies. Poke Facebook friends. Do what you have to do to get 100 tags, and we’ll hold a COMMUNITY WORKSHOP to help you plan a PLAY ACTIVATION on that spot.

Then, we bring our PARK-IN-A-BOX… and the play begins!

We’re relying on your networks, your ideas, and your activism, to bring play to you. Not only will thousands of Angelenos get to play outside, but the LEADERS among you — whether you’re an aspiring organizer or an old pro — will advocate for LASTING CHANGE. Whether it’s recurring activations you want, or a permanent park, we’ll SUPPORT you and help you make the CONNECTIONS you need.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

To measure the success of our activation, we first need to define our goals:

1) Engage 100,000 Angelenos

2) Reach 90,000+ residents through social media, website, and signage

3) Get 4000 residents to tag 40 sites for activation

4) Hold 40 activations in park-poor neighborhoods

5) Engage 200+ residents at each activation

6) Help 40 residents become play advocates in their communities

7) Create a process that enables accessible, inclusive, active play that happens how you want

These goals will help us make LA the best place to PLAY (and CONNECT). How do we measure them? Firstly, we count:

1) How many people visit our social media sites and website

2) How many people see the signage at activation sites (we’ll use pedestrian counts to estimate)

3) How many tags sites get

4) How many activations we hold and how many people attend (this tells us if we’re increasing access to play)

5) How many people become play advocates

6) How many people we engage overall

So we’ve got numbers, now what about opinions? KDI will gather feedback at all stages to get a detailed picture of whether you think we’re meeting those play metrics.

1) We’ll send a survey to everyone who plays #PlayYourWayLA

2) At the play activations, we’ll bring Feebe, our custom-made “feedback beacon”, to collect feedback through interviews, surveys, and games

3) You can tell us what you think on social media, anytime

4) We will survey the residents who organize the activations with us to hear what worked and what didn’t

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In our five-year vision of the future, this activation program will have become a permanent, citywide initiative so you can play your way while you’re waiting for parks to be built.

Temporary parks and play spaces will be popping up like whack-a-moles. Every single Angeleno will be able to team up with other residents and make a play space on a street, City lot, or sidewalk — whenever, wherever, and however you want. It will be as easy as making a quick phone call or filling out an online form! And the possibilities for play will be as endless as your imagination.

We hope this isn’t the case, but if you still live in a park-poor neighborhood in five years’ time, fear not! You’ll be able to access many of the physical, mental and social benefits of parks, while we all work towards more permanent solutions. You’ll be more friendly with your neighbors. You’ll have more active hobbies close to home. Your community will be healthier, happier, and more connected.

And the community leaders who spearheaded this activation will be equipped with new know-how to push for permanent play solutions. They’ll know more people, they’ll have more data, and they will be an active voice for their communities when the time comes to allocate dollars for new parks. They will usher in a new era of public space and outdoor play — planned by Angelenos, for Angelenos.

As for KDI, in five years’ time we’ll continue to be a leader in California for building healthy, vibrant and playful communities through public space. We’ll have worked alongside the communities most in need of play space, and the most influential decision makers, to create a statewide network of public spaces with committed and capable residents at its core.


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