Portable Fun

Where do you go to have fun in your city?

I’m currently living in the small-ish city where I grew up, and remember that it was quite fashionable as a teen to complain that there is nothing to do here.

But what if the “fun place to go” is a much more fluid concept? What if the fun place can appear and disappear, and never be in the same place twice? Does that add to the magic? (Or just make it annoying?)

“Pop-up” is a very trendy concept in retail right now, were a store appears in a space for a limited time before being taken down again. That same spirit can be applied to recreation.


Take Roof Garden as an example. It’s a community gathering place in the Dutch city of Arnhem, complete with gardens, table tennis, live entertainment and more. And it springs into life each summer on the top level of a high-rise parking garage, thanks to a group of eager volunteers.

In a city (like mine) without a high-rise parking garage, where would be an unexpected place for a community gathering spot to appear? What site would be surprisingly wonderful? What location would prompt the most people to come enjoy the space?

2014.7.28 Roof Garden

From Popup City


On a smaller scale, there’s something like Park(ing) Day, where non-profits, groups and individuals in a community transform public parking spaces into tiny little parks. They bring enough quarters to feed the meter all day, lay down some turf and decorate their little corner of paradise with whatever amenities suit them. It becomes an unexpected and inviting green space, even in an urban area.

What would you add to your mini-park?

2014.7.28 Parking Day

From Park(ing) Day on Facebook 


For something a little wilder, you can find inspiration in the Lost Horizon Night Market. It’s an underground event where groups or individuals decorate rental truck to become ad hoc theaters, bar rooms, video arcades, haunted houses and more. Like some kind of mysterious carnival, the trucks park late at night at an undisclosed location, which is revealed at the last minute to those in the know (ex. Twitter or Facebook followers).

What groups or individuals do you know who would create an amazing Night Market truck? What amazing experience would you like to have there?

2014.7.28 Night Market Zoo

Petting zoo, photo by Yana Paskova for NYTimes 


Mac and Attitude Diner, photo from NPR 

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