There is an idea in urban planning called ‘live, work and play’ that aims to allow people to – like what the phrase suggests – live, work and play in the same area. It is perhaps becoming somewhat of a trend right now. More and more mixed-use developments are sprouting. Huge multi-use complexes are being built to contain shopping malls, houses, and offices together. Green spaces might even be thrown into the mix to spice up the development and to provide some form of ‘nature’ for people to relax in.
Maybe it is a step forward from the urban sprawl that is happening in some cities. It might be helpful to bring people’s daily activities closer together so that commute times can be reduced.
But if words are powerful, then how we use the phrase might need to be reconsidered.
When we say live, work and play separately, does it mean that living is a separate thing from working, which is a separate thing from playing? Does it mean that when we work, there is no element of play involved? That we can’t feel like we are enjoying our work the same way as we enjoy playing sports, for example? Does it then mean that living, by itself, it a separate concept from work and play?
What if living, working and playing are just an extension of who we are as a person? That the activities that we do for bringing in income can also involve elements of play. Or perhaps play could be embedded in our daily lives.
Otherwise, if we only think of ‘live, work and play’ as 3 separate silos that we try to bring together in closer proximity to each other, there would probably be nothing new in terms of new spaces. Only more of apartments, offices and shopping malls being stacked on top of one another (or putting them next to each other for cities with the luxury of space).
But if living, working and playing are 3 aspects of life itself, what kind of new spaces can we create?