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Monday, May 31, 2010

30 Seconds of Awesome

Kudos to Streetsblog Los Angeles for posting about "30 seconds of Awesome,"  a recent project by a UCLA Architecture graduate student that basically co-opted the 38 seconds of pedestrian only crossing time at Westwood and Le Conte Boulevards as an urban playground for willing college kids. 
Krisztina Jozsef, a second year graduate student in UCLA's architecture department designed what she termed "30 Seconds of Awesome."  Basically, during the thirty eight seconds of "pedestrian only" time in the intersection of Westwood and Le Conte, a couple of dozen students run out in the intersection and basically play in the street.  First a couple of warm-ups then tug-of-war, water balloons (with a clean-up time), jump rope, hula hoops, limbo and, most impressively, volley ball.  The students were in and out of the intersection before regular car traffic resumed, with Professor Mark Mack wearing what looked to be an orange prison jump suit yelling out the remaining time into a mega phone.
The project was built off the success of ideas such as Parking Day, Critical Mass, Ciclovia, and Flash Mob events that look to reprogram existing urban spaces as pedestrian zones, and create new recreational places to encourage healthy living.  Unfortunately, the project was just a one-time event, but it reminds me a lot of when I was a kid, and the street was used by people for block parties or wiffle ball and football games.  Cars still drove by, but the game would simply pause amid cries of "game off" until the coast was clear, and then resume with a chorus of "game on."  Great idea, and a reminder of ways we can reevaluate our existing neighborhoods. 

More videos, including Yoga and Tug of War, are available on LA StreetsBlog YouTube channel.

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