• 01.08.14

Disco Ball Traffic Lights And Skyscraper Slides: 50 Brilliant Ideas To Make Cities More Fun

Can cities be more imaginative and playful? A new book of sketches shows the way to making cities a more lighthearted place to live.

If aliens walked through the downtown of almost any major city at 6 p.m. on a Monday, they would have to surmise that cities are extremely serious places where people charge ahead without looking at or talking to other people (except on their cell phones). No one knows how untrue this is more than George Zisiadis, an artist who creates fun urban experiments like the Mistletoe Drone and Pulse of the City.


In 2013, Zisiadis released Urban Imagination, a book filled with sketches that offer up even more ways to make cities fun. The concept for the book stemmed from the idea of playfulness–how we’re all born with it, and how our environments can encourage more of it to make us happier and more creative.

Zisiadis writes in an email: “With these thoughts in mind, in August 2013, I challenged myself just for fun. I was to playfully re-imagine the everyday things in cities we most take for granted. Benches, crosswalks, fire hydrants, etc. Soon enough my notebook was full. I was overwhelmed by all of the possibilities that kept presenting themselves everywhere I looked.”

Some of the whimsical ideas presented in the book–including freewalk overpass swings and skyscraper ziplines–have little chance of coming to fruition. But others, such as the trash-activated light show (throw away your trash, get treated to a light show) and the grass bench, aren’t so far-fetched, at least for small-scale projects.

Check out Zisiadis’s book and judge for yourself. Our favorites are in the slide show above.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.