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.
“Hopscotch will cause collisions among people, neighborhoods, artists, businesses, organizations, the design community, and ideas that normally don't sit side-by-side," says Hopscotch Detroit organizer Ajooni Sethi. "The game transcends generations, cultures, and neighborhoods, bringing together a whole mix of folks. That's how you get a 60-year old man from downtown Detroit and a five-year old from Osborn”—a neighborhood on the edge of town—“to share an experience.”
Hopscotch Detroit will draw its first chalk square on September 19 as part of the Detroit Design Festival and plans to debut the completed course on September 22. The course will begin in Downtown Detroit and end in Midtown. Each day of the festival, 30 volunteers will chalk up an additional mile, armed with hand-cut stencils, paint brushes, sponges, paint mixers, knee pads, and non-toxic chalk paint—a combination of flour, corn starch, sugar, water, and tempera paint that should hold up for about three rainfalls.
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