Ryan Swanson

Founder & Exec Dir
The Urban Conga

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Ryan is an architect, lecturer, creative producer and the Founder/ CEO of The Urban Conga, a multidisciplinary design firm that promotes community activity and social interaction through open ended play. They achieve this by creating interactive installations and environments that spark creativity, exploration, and free-choice learning into the built environment.

Their work has won a number of international design awards including Architizer A+Awards,Architecture Masterprize, One Club for Creativity ADC Award, AIA Awards, and more. Through his work, Ryan has collaborated with organizations, governments and universities all around the US as well as in Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria and the UK,delivering workshops, lectures, interventions, urban development plans and public policy recommendations. Ryan and his work has been featured on PBS, The Atlantic, TEDx, SXSW, Core77, and many others. In 2019, Ryan received the honor of receiving The University of South Florida “Outstanding Young Alumni Award”. In 2019 Ryan also authored “The Guide for Creating a Playable City”. In 2017, he was also selected by The British Council as a part of fifteen exceptional Creative Producers from all over the world, encouraging a new kind of conversation with creative communities, citizens and city authorities.

Through Ryan's work, he is constantly exploring the idea for play to exist in everyday spaces, and encourage people to think about these spaces that could become PLAYces: like a crosswalk, public park bench, building facade, sidewalk, bust stop, or just the everyday space in-between. These often once boring or underutilized situations can turn into stimulating, creative outlets for social interaction and community activity through the idea of open ended play. 

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