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Note from Dale

Aldo van Eyck was a man who knew what makes children tick. The Dutch architect also knew that for any city – and the spaces it comprises – to stay truly alive, it is crucial to give children space in which to play and build and swing and be.

Van Eyck was appointed to Amsterdam’s Department of Public Works in 1946, as the city was emerging from the embers of war. Cultural historian Ben Highmore shows how van Eyck’s ideas went on to be built into the cityscape in quite marvellous ways.

His 700 playgrounds, though long forgotten and mostly destroyed, continue to arrest architecture and urbanism students alike for their visionary, human-centric focus.

A clinician scientist, meanwhile, details how a personalised mRNA vaccine may benefit those suffering from pancreatic cancer. And a marine biologist cautions drivers that their tyres could well be adding to the ocean’s microplastic woes.

Dale Berning Sawa

Commissioning Editor, Cities + Society

The playground on Zaanhof. Amsterdam City Archives/010009008690

How mid-century Amsterdam built 700 doorstep playgrounds – and then forgot about them

Ben Highmore, University of Sussex

One visionary modernist architect saw play spaces as crucial to the 20th-century city. But they have to be cared for in order to survive.

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