If you’ve been past 632 Jackson St. recently, you might have noticed something that looks like a pop-up park on the lot.
That space is being used for a community-based project called the Playground for Useful Knowledge.
This community space was created by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, along with Cohabitation Strategies. The purpose of this space is to bring together the community and engage the neighborhood, with a focus on community growth, civic issues and sharing knowledge. Since this is a project with the Mural Arts Program, there is also an emphasis on the arts in this space.
Check out a bit more about the lot from this YouTube video:
This particular lot was chosen as a pilot lot for this project based on its location in “The South Seven,” which is seven interconnected neighborhoods in South Philadelphia. This area includes Passyunk Square, East Passyunk Crossing, Dickinson Narrows, Greenwich, Pennsport, Lower Moyamensing and Whitman. These areas have rich cultural and ethnic diversity, which makes this location a prime one for bringing the community together.
More on the initiative of this lot from the Playground for Useful Knowledge’s website:
Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge proposes an alternative way of producing urban space steeped in the ludic imaginaries of the artistic and architectural avant-gardes of the 20th Century. The Dadaists, the Situationists International, Constant, Aldo Van Eyck, and Buckminster Fuller, among others, proposed the emancipation of time and space through play and the reuse of bombed and abandoned lots as playgrounds and spaces of leisure and imagination, a radical opposition to the urban dystopia left by the Second World War. This project is also inspired by more recent artistic and activist occupations of private and public spaces, such as the Occupy movement’s strategy of taking over city squares in 2011-2012 in which CohStra was actively involved. The interruption of daily life caused by these outbursts of collective protest are playful and creative yet also seriously tackle systemic injustice, reminding us of the disruptive potential of play as a powerful form of public ritual where new ways of being together and of inhabiting our shared spaces can be rehearsed.
This space holds various community events, including workshops, art classes and community-based discussions. One upcoming event is the Mifflin Square Alliance Festival on Saturday, September 19. You can find out more about the events and how to get involved here. The Playground for Useful Knowledge should be open on this lot through the end of September.