The presentation builds on a paper entitled “The History and Future of Play Streets” which was awarded first prize at the APA Student Research Paper competition. It explores how the advent of automobiles in the early 20th century represented a paradigm shift in how children played in urban environments, how that paradigm was challenged during the COVID19 pandemic through programs like Open Streets, and how we can build streets that focus on creating spaces for play as well as biodiversity. It begins by discussing the author’s experience as a child growing up and playing on Henry Street in Burlington, Vermont and how that experience which was once ubiquitous has become rare in the developed world. It argues that the re-engineering of urban street space towards purely functional goals such as traffic flow has reduced their ability to sustain ‘life’ both in the form of human social activity and green space. It then discusses how many commonly accepted street design treatments (such as bumpouts, chicanes and pinchpoints) can slow speeds and discourage through traffic, while adding green space that improves biodiversity and resilience of urban stormwater systems. This is connected to existing global planning concepts, such the “Woonerf” in the Netherlands and the “Play Street” in Germany. The presentation finishes with a discussion of how tactical urbanism can be used to experiment with community-based street design that centers on creating shared safe public space and greening local neighborhoods.