Colin Ward – Everyday Anarchist

I once described Colin Ward to a friend as “an anarchist who builds adventure playgrounds” which seems as good point a starting point as any for talking about his life and ideas (she replied “he’s my new favourite person”). Ward was a self-educated anarchist polymath who spent most of his life working in planning, architecture and social policy. This might seem to be in contradiction with anarchism ,if one thinks of anarchy as solely guys in black hoods breaking Starbucks windows, but perhaps anarchism is a little richer than this? An anarchist perspective allowed Ward to arrive at any number of novel solutions to social problems, some of which I will touch on briefly below. The point about “adventure playgrounds here” is also telling – one to the reasons I am attracted to his work is his ability to place children and their needs for fun, stimulation and exploration of their environments at its centre. Children are often seem as a peripeheral annoyances in urban life, if they’re not outright demonsied. Any vision of social life that puts them back at its centre is worth exploring.

Colin Ward

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