It's hard not to like free anything. "Free" is a powerful concept, but have you ever come across a group of people giving cash to random strangers with no strings attached? Apart from a group of delighted South Los Angeles residents yesterday who were showered with bills from an SUV fleeing the scene of a bank robbery, we're guessing the idea of free money is fairly foreign.
What if the schedule of city-life had recess built into it, just like elementary school? A team of social innovators in Detroit is asking that question with their upcoming project Hopscotch Detroit, a social free-for-all that puts a schoolyard spin on community engagement—and even intends to break a world record, using nearly a ton of chalk, stencils, and city's sidewalks.
Hopscotch Detroit is a joint venture of social design startup Wedge Detroit and community-building initiative Imagine Detroit Together. Since June, the two organizations have conspired to bring a 4.2-mile-long urban hopscotch course to life. Equal parts ode to the classic childhood game and imaginative community event, Hopscotch Detroit's allure is its simplicity: temporarily transforming a street, or a city, into a unified, vibrant playground.
It's remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since its inception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They've left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.