Adventure Playground: Dirt Hill

5370 N Bowmanville Ave Chicagoundefined

Reclaiming Public Space/Adventure Playground: Dirt Hill
Chicago Architecture Center
Written By Chicago Architecture Center

WE ❤️ DESIGN. Tours, exhibits, programs and events about Chicago architecture. Formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

LEEP labs


The average American child spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, but more than seven hours in front of an electronic screen. The results are being measured, but even casual observation suggests this is not a healthy mix.

Chicago can right that imbalance. The Adventure Playground is a choreographed landscape of dirt hills, salvaged architecture materials, and junkyard-like urban infrastructure detritus, inside of which children engage with craft, building, urban farming, farm animals and orchards in a space on the edge of a cemetery in the city’s 40th Ward. 

In the Adventure Playground, children define their play, rather than adults. The non-structured simplicity and tactility of materials and tools counters the smooth spaces of iPads and flat screens. The child’s imagination blooms through contact with messy realities. Risk taking is encouraged; there is no box to think out of. Children learn how to learn; and the 40th Ward becomes a replicable center of educational innovation.

See all 50 visionary projects at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Reclaiming Public Space

Adventure Playground: Dirt Hill

Cookie image

We use cookies on this website. You are free to manage these via your browser settings at any time. For more information about how we use cookies, please see our Privacy Policy.