The sideline next to the sport fields are important places. It’s were neighbours stand shoulder to shoulder. It is where passersby stop to observe and engage with the community. It is where the athletes’ parents sell waffles and coffee. People fall in love, ideas arise, associations are established and new relations are forged on the sidelines.
It is in the voluntary work and the activity that takes place just outside the courts and fields that organized sport does its most important work. For a brief moment it creates a space where people can meet and cooperate, regardless of their background and previous affiliations.
It is in these social venues that communities are strengthened. Research has shown that ones sense of belonging within a community is most strongly related to ones neighborhood, leisure and volunteering. Therefore, it is important that we bring into focus and nourish the activities around the sport facilities – rather than just the facilities themselves – when planning new urban developments.
IN relation to the exhibition “Commoning Kits” in Malmö 2017, we explored this notion by suggesting a series of urban interventions that combine the sideline activities with other needs and qualities one could hope to find in a typical Scandinavian neighborhood.
It could be a football goal that doubles as a small stage, a vantage point or a bus stop. It could be a tribune that is also a stand for a fruit and vegetable vendor, and an outdoor dining area for the restaurant on the opposite side of the street. Perhaps that courtyard needs a tribune for the basket games, while the local community needs a place for outdoor gatherings and events. Or it could be that the local skatepark needs illumination at night and you build boxes that provide light and double as water fountains and small community gardens.
These interventions are envisioned as construction kits of conventional wood framing that can be easily erected and placed on simple foundations by members of the community, using basic of tools and on a small budget.