About Us

Why We’re Doing This

As parents of toddlers and babies, we’re concerned about whether we can provide a better life for our children than we had.  We’ve certainly done well financially – better than our parents, by and large – so we can provide an abundance of material goods for our children.  However, we weren’t hurting at all for material goods when we were kids, but we find that kids of today are sorely lacking in what was the greatest joy of our childhoods:  free, unstructured play.

Free, unstructured play (or what we refer to as simply “play”) has virtually vanished from the lives of most children in America.  We are committed to doing whatever we can to bring it back for our children and yours.

At Playborhood.com we will to build a community of parents in the United States, if not the world, that will become more aware of this problem, discuss solutions, and implement the best of those solutions. If you think this is a worthy goal, please help us!

Another, longer description of why we’re doing this can be found in Mike’s Manifesto.



Mike Lanza, Founder and Chief Play Officer of Playborhood.com, won’t stop until he finds the right neighborhood for his two boys so they can go outside and play any time.  A veteran founder and CEO of five software/Internet companies, he just might make Playborhood.com his sixth.  Mike holds way too many degrees from Stanford University – an MA and BA in Economics, an MBA, and an MA in Education.  He lives in Palo Alto, CA, but he was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, where he played outside pretty much every chance he got.  For more information on Mike, see his Playborhood user profile.


Simon FirthSimon Firth, Minister of Roaming Around, grew up in the British countryside, where as a ten-year old he’d spend whole days with his friends floating logs down the creek that ran behind his house.  He also spent thousands of hours playing ‘war’ in the nearby woods—an experience that maybe explains his adult devotion to pacifism.  After a career as a producer in public television on both sides of the Atlantic, Simon now writes for a living out of his home office in Palo Alto, CA.  You can find his work in Salon, The Christian Science Monitor, Stanford Magazine and Disney’s new parenting magazine, Wondertime, among other places.


imageSarah Granger, Director of Hopscotch, spent her childhood in one of those neighborhoods where nobody came trick-or-treating.  A graduate of the University of Michigan’s choose-your-own-adventure degree program (she called her major “Technology & Society”), Sarah has worked on several Internet start-ups and online publications.  Mother of one cheerful little girl, she can’t wait until this Halloween when their new street in Menlo Park, CA will be packed with kids.  When not at Playborhood.com, you can find her on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.  For more information on Sarah, see her Playborhood user profile.


imageChuck Pletcher, Director of Horseshoes, grew-up in a cookie-cutter subdivision of suburban Detroit.  After braving long commutes for six years in the windy city for Andersen Consulting, Chuck relocated to the Bay Area where he now lives with his wife and daughter in Menlo Park, CA.  Chuck holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, where his favorite classes were “Marketing” and “Engineering Entrepreneurship”, which eventually brought him to participate in 2 high-tech start-ups and a long stint at eBay where he’s played since 2002.


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