Ciocana Sector in the eastern part of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, is one of the newest parts of the city. It is a typical product of early Soviet city planning when cheap, multi-storey housing was built across the country to provide cheap and modern accommodation for all. A typical ‘sleeping district’, or spalniy rayon, its highrise tower blocks were built in clusters, fully self-contained with kindergartens, schools, shops and parks. This scheme was replicated across the vast expanse of the Soviet Union, often built alongside newly created industrial zones and factories to shorten the commute for workers. Many sleeping districts functioned as cities within cities, where residents had no need to venture to the town centre for anything.
Ciocana, like most of Moldova’s urban infrastructure, saw little development in the early years of Moldova’s independence aside from the odd new apartment block that was added to the existing stock. New shops, supermarkets and retail spaces provided shopping opportunities for people starting to take advantage of more consumer goods. Yes essentially, Ciocana has stayed much the same over the past decades, still dominated by identical high rise blocks lining long, broad avenues. ‘Playground’ is an attempt to show the face of Soviet urban development framed by a single location - a football pitch in Ciocana - through the seasons.