Following the much anticipated shortlist for the Watershed’s 2016 Playable City Award, the winner has been announced as design and technology consultancy Hirsch & Mann with the company receiving a £30,000 award to develop and test their party pedestrian crossing – Stop, Smile, Stroll – right here in Bristol.

Hirsh & Mann’s Stop, Smile, Stroll is a playful intervention at pedestrian crossings that brings strangers together for a serendipitous shared moment – interrupting the tedium of our everyday mundane ‘stop and walk’ routine.

“Our hope is to leave a lasting impression on all the people that experience a moment of magic when they pass by”


Pressing a traffic light button will enable speakers and a dance floor, bringing the crossing to life and guiding its users across the road with a spotlight, imitating the lights of a stage performance.

Smart city data

stop-smile-stroll-playable-citiesAs cities grow, change and develop, road works, temporary crossings and diversions become an irritating part of daily life.

In addition, personalised timings for pedestrian crossings and traffic lights that respond to congestion data are just two of the crossing-related smart city technologies currently in development or use. Rather than focus on efficiency, Hirsch & Mann see these touch points as an opportunity to enhance rather than disrupt our daily commute.

“Making work for pedestrian crossings has huge international potential”


Daniel Hirschmann, Founder and CEO of Hirsch & Mann, says: “Hirsch & Mann are obsessed with creating memorable human-centered experiences. To do this in the city – on a canvas that is 100% publicly accessible – is such an incredible opportunity. There is a real responsibility in creating something that members of the public will pass by, see and interact with and our hope is to leave a lasting impression on all the people that experience a moment of magic when they pass by.”

Co-creating experiences

The judges were particularly excited about their emphasis on co-creating pedestrian crossing experiences with local communities – which may range from a 30-second party to a moment of quiet reflection, as well as incorporating city data.

Clare Reddington, Watershed’s Creative Director and Chair of the Playable Cities Judging Panel says: “We are very excited to collaborate with Hirsch & Mann as this year’s Playable City Award winners. Making work for pedestrian crossings has huge international potential and we are really looking forward to working with them and the people of Bristol to make something surprising, playful and tourable.”

You can follow Hirsch & Mann’s Stop, Smile, Stroll’s progress by checking out the Playable Cities website or following them on Twitter: @PlayableCity. You can also follow Hirsch & Mann directly: @hirschandmann.

Alice Whale