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Van Eyck The Amsterdam Playgrounds





The Amsterdam playgrounds, 1947-1948: "A city without the child's particular motion is a malignant paradox.  The child is left to discover its potential against all odds, damaged and damaging, in perpetual danger and incidental sunshine.  Edged towards the periphery of urban attention, the child survives, an emotional and unproductive quantum.  Then, behold, when snow falls on cities, the child takes over, Lord of a transformed realm.  All at once, with miraculous assistance, the child is everywhere, rediscovering the city whilst the city in turn rediscovers its


children, if only for a while.  A gratifying visual simplification takes place but it is also a revealing one, because, as everything merges and differences are rendered invisible it becomes apparent that something more permanent than snow, if less abundant, is missing, something which can still be provided as a modest correction where there is room -- as an afterthought long overdue.  Something, quite unlike snow, the city can readily absorb, and not altogether unlike the countless incidental things already there which the child adapts to its own needs and imagination anyhow, at its own risk.

"Since 1947 approximately 700 open places adapted specifically for children were executed according to my designs and specifications on spare sites, overlooked spaces and insignificant dusty patches of greenery... The children are no longer apparently no where yet unpredictably everywhere. "  --Aldo Van Eyck.  

 From Works, compilation by Vincent Ligtelijn (1999).  

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