No Ball Games

One of the most mysterious effects of postwar planning has been the architects and planners desire to create green spaces for residents to use and play on, often in the oddest places, and the council's immediate decision on managing the finished site to stick up prohibitive 'no ball games' signs everywhere to discourage said residents. It's certainly one of the oddities I remember from growing up in New Addington.

Artist Eva Merz created a lovely project back in 2007 when she worked with the residents of Aberdeen's Tillydrone estate. As she wrote at the time: 'In Tillydrone there are more than 70 prohibition signs – most of them saying No Ball Games - a lot in a community of 4000 inhabitants. ... Strange, that in contemporary society, with a general focus on community regeneration, engagement and participation, this is the only visible communication from the city council to the people... No no no.'


  1. What did the planners think people would do in these "communal spaces"? There aren't even any benches.

  2. All those things that busy outline people do on architects drawings, I suppose: carry children on their shoulders, hold balloons and admire the view.


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