Parks, play-centres, comedy clubs and music venues are as essential to cities as markets, banks, hospitals and homes. This edition of London Essays explores the opportunities for play in the capital, from childhood to adulthood, and what it means for the economic, social and cultural life of the city.
The 12 essays highlight the value of play for children and young people, but raise concerns about declining play opportunities; the privatisation of play space and cuts to investment and funding.
But the essays also show that adults are drawn to London, not just to work, but to play as well – an important part of the London economy. Many innovative ideas, from the computer to the magazine, originated in play and amusement.
The essays draw attention to the worrying decline in London’s night time venues, including the closure of 58 per cent of LGBTQ+ venues in the last decade, and the struggle of new forms of play, like improv, being held back by lack of space.