PitchNOLA: Fight the Blight
In late 2012, PlayBuild NOLA was chosen out of over 100 submissions as a top 10 finalist in the PitchNOLA Lots of Progress competition.
Co-sponsored by the City of New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane Architecture School’s City Center, and social venture incubator, Propeller, the Lots of Progress competition issued a call-to-action for community innovators to present ideas and solutions for tackling blight and remediating vacant lots around New Orleans.
PlayBuild’s Big Idea: blight eradication through design education.
We proposed to target vacant lots in close proximity to elementary schools and to transform them into architectural playgrounds by combining unique playground equipment with elements of an outdoor classroom and creating a safe, fun, accessible environment for kids and families to play and learn.
Inspired by the enthusiastic response from the judges, the audience, and a number of city cultural and community organizations, we mobilized a small group of volunteers and spent 8 months bringing PlayBuild to life.
Bringing PlayBuild to Central City
In early 2013 through the gracious collaboration of VIET, and the Ashe Cultural Arts Center we were able to produce a prototype version of the PlayBuild concept for Ashe’s youth program, the Kuumba Institute.
In late August after securing a national grant from KaBoom! and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Foundation and forging a partnership with NBA player Chris Paul’s CP3 Afterschool zone, we launched our flagship site at 2828 Thalia Street, a 30×90 foot residential lot at the corner of Thalia and Willow Streets.
In the Neighborhood
Our neighborhood is transforming rapidly, and we’re excited to be on the ground working with a dynamic community of parents, teachers, and community and civic leaders to engage and inspire the future builders of New Orleans.