Slap together a swing set. Attach computers so it makes music when you swing. Stick it in a vacant lot for a month. Wait.
And here’s what happens, according to Sybille Welter, coordinator of the city’s Art in Public Places program:
- 34,000 people show up.
- As many as 156 swing in a single hour.
- Foot traffic on the block increases by 56 percent.
- It generates $768,900 in direct economic impact downtown.
- Indirect economic impact: $1 million to $1.4 million.
Those numbers came from a survey done of Musical Swings, the installation placed in a vacant lot at 534 Clematis Street in February. “People generally said they felt happier, calmer, less stressed out” after using the swings, Welter said.
Raphael Clemente, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said he’s on the lookout for more attractions like this one, which was relatively simple but had a big social and economic impact. “It was the most fun project I’ve been involved with since I’ve been at the DDA,” he said. “People just came out to be part of this really cool experiment.”