Urban Thinkscape

Transform a public space in your community into a joyful learning opportunity.

5 Step Guide to

Urban Thinkscape


Urban Thinkscape "Welcome to Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network on ChangeX! It’s time to reimagine how the ordinary can become extraordinary. Imagine a supermarket that doubles as a children’s museum, a bus stop outfitted with puzzle walls and cognitive games, or a human-sized board game where children intuitively solve math problems. Find out here how you can create playful learning in your communities." - Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Founder of Playful Learning Landscapes

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist


You'll need to dedicate a half day per week to getting the project up and running in your community.

Start with an idea and a site for creating joyful learning experiences for a community

Start with an idea and a site for creating joyful learning experiences for a community:


  1. Enhance literacy or STEM achievement by activating an Urban Thinkscape in an underutilized public space where community members gather, such as a bus stop, a shopping area or a route to school.
  2. Identify a community and potential site(s) for Urban Thinkscape.

Identify partners and build a team

Successful initiatives require planning, coordination and community buy-in. Consider who should be sitting at the table with you? How will the team work together and allocate responsibilities?

Here are a few things to consider as you build out your team:

  • Create a project team who represent the critical stakeholders and who are willing and able to see the project through.
  • Consult with community members to ensure that they are on board with the idea. The greater community ownership the greater the potential for sustainability and relevance.
  • Identify potential partners who might support the work.
  • Build a volunteer community group that will work with you.

Plan for needs

Here are some key factors you should include as you draw up your project plan for your Urban Thinkspace:

  • Identify who controls the site on which you want to build Urban Thinkscape and ensure that the site is appropriate and available for use. Ensure that you have any permissions that are needed to proceed with the work and know if there are any regulations governing the activity.
  • Assess potential vendors who can execute the project design within the allocated budget.
  • Plan with your vendor which material will work best for your location. (consider weather, usage, long term maintenance)
  • Consider how signage or “prompts” are mounted.
  • Ensure that there are plans to maintain the site and to rejuvenate activities as needed. This might include identifying resources for maintenance and oversight.

Communicate with the broader community

Once your plan is in place and you're ready to build your Urban Thinkscape, communicating with the local community will be very important. Here are some ways you can promote the project:

  • Share on social media.
  • Print and post signage.
  • Get on the agenda of a community meeting.

Launch your Urban Thinkscape

When it's time to launch your Urban Thinkscape, you should consider a kick-off event such as a Block Party to show off Urban Thinkscape and engage as many people as possible.

Observe how families use and interact with the space. Share your experience with other communities.

Enjoy! and think about how you can continue to spread Playful Learning throughout your city.