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Putting Joy in a Sidewalk

Last year, the Better Block team went to Copenhagen to study great urban design. We met with the brightest minds, including Gehl Architects, Copenhagenize, GivRum, and the mayor and architect of the city. We asked questions. We took notes. And we ate food. A lot of food.

And the food is important, because the food taught us an important lesson about how Copenhagen works. We were leaving dinner one night, and walking back to the hotel. We were talking about the day, when suddenly, we saw these small trampolines built in to the sidewalk. The next 15 minutes were spent bouncing around. Our entire group—from 13 years old to 50 years old—took turns on the trampoline. It was a completely unexpected moment of joy.

We realized that this moment was made possible because Copenhagen wasn’t worried about liability issues. There was trust among the city and its citizens.

So, when we started brainstorming for Park(ing) Day 2017, we thought about how we could bring that joy home. We ordered a few trampolines from Target, created a few platforms, and designed a trampoline park for a parking spot.

It was everything we’d hoped it would be.

Getting a jump on @NTxGivingDay for @FOX4. #NTXGivingDay — The Better Block (@TheBetterBlock) September 14, 2017

During (Park)ing day, countless kids came over to jump. The adults were slightly hesitant, but once they jumped on, others followed. Studio Outside was in the booth next to us, and had some pretty amazing choreographed dancing. When House of Pain’s “Jump Around” came on, we combined forces and had a great dance party.

Our spot wasn’t much, just some wood, turf, and four trampolines. But we like to think it brought an unexpected moment of joy to the people who happened across it.


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