Skipping Only Zones: Prospect Park & Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn

Field Experiment: Can we persuade people to move more, and in a different way, as they are walking down the street?

Plan: Create a “Skipping Only Zone” with 2 yellow signs that mark the beginning and end.

Goals: To get people’s attention and create a more active environment. To observe how responsive people are to the signs we made- are they amused? do they skip? To compare how effective the signs were in different types of public pathways- ie. park trail, jogging trail, city sidewalk, crosswalk.

Observations: Children were more likely to notice the signs and to skip than adults. Parents with children were the most likely adults to skip. Some parents took the “Skipping Only Zone” as an opportunity to teach their child how to skip. Of the adults who noticed the signs, most of them smiled, laughed, and took photos, but were more likely to actually skip if they were with a friend instead of walking alone. Runners never responded to the signs. An unexpected reaction to the signs was that children really enjoyed the springiness of the bendy wire stand. The crosswalk was the most effective location- more people noticed the signs and more people played along. We think this could be because the skipping request is more out of context on a city street than it is in a park, so it’s more fun! Also, the red light gives people more time to look around and see the sign, and to decide whether or not to comply.

Plans for next time: The height of the signs were perfect for children, but out of view for most adults; maybe placing the signs higher would give them more attention. Try more locations around the city, and also different times of the day and week.

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