Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and places that bring meaning to our lives. At Goric, we’d like to recognize the holiday by expressing our appreciation for the work of five city park departments, which have excelled in making their park systems accessible places for recreation, quiet refuge, and play. In May,… Read more »

Shade is an integral, if undervalued, aspect of playground design. Some of the best playgrounds earn their distinction because they offer a range of sun-protected areas where children can play and rest. And some very good playgrounds could be better if they provided more shade to sustain longer stretches of play, protect children from intense,… Read more »

In a 1923 interview with a New York Times reporter, Himalayan mountain climber George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His famous response, “because it is there,” may seem irreverent on its face, but beneath the deadpan lies a deeper truth. The desire to reach the top of things, to push ourselves… Read more »

Several weeks ago, at the ASLA conference in Los Angeles, Greg Miller, principal landscape architect at MRWM, and Lucy Miller, founder and director at the STAR institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, discussed how children with sensory disorders benefit from strategically designed playgrounds and gardens. Their presentation drew my thoughts to a lesser known neuro-cognitive development… Read more »

Common Ground, this year’s theme for the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) 2017 Annual Meeting and EXPO, October 20-23, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, casts a wide net. As Vaughn Rinner, ASLA president, describes it in an open letter announcing the conference, the theme reflects not only common areas where… Read more »

There is a tendency for society to draw a line between work and play, but for many kids this is simply impossible. Studies suggest that time spent playing outdoors increases educational progress, by improving happiness levels and engagement. This is particularly true for those with ADHD, which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports… Read more »

Los Angeles is known for fast cars, great beaches, Hollywood celebrities, and beloved musicians, such as the late-Tom Petty. Its parks and playgrounds may be less front and center in area tour guides, but they are nonetheless among the country’s best. From sculptural designs worthy of the boisterous and daring hand of acclaimed L.A.-based architect… Read more »

The book American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space, by writer and architectural historian Susan Solomon, opens with a scathing—and forcibly blunt—indictment of modern American playgrounds, to wit: “Existing American playgrounds are a disaster.” The picture Solomon paints in the introduction of her 276-page historical review and contemporary playground study is familiar to anyone who has seen the… Read more »

Once in a while, I’ll stumble on an elaborate new play structure that wakes me up to the possibilities of playgrounds. Like a Picasso in a room full of representational still lives, something daring in the design leaps out and demands attention. The Wallholla is one of those arresting structures. It stands nearly three stories… Read more »

It was against the backdrop of the volatile interwar years in Europe that celebrated Danish landscape architect, Carl Theodor Sørensen first conceived of the idea of skrammellegepladsers or, “junk playgrounds”. Observing children playing in junkyards and construction sites, he was struck by the notion that, through a child’s eyes, almost any object could become beautiful… Read more »

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What I remember about elementary school, before spelling bees or Tuesday chicken nuggets, before the school’s beloved art teacher or canine mascot, is the freedom of recess. Fields of blowing dandelion fuzz; daydreaming in the tire pit; playing Four Square. And perhaps, above all, the joy of the swings, the relished feeling of boundlessness wrapped… Read more »

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a stop along The 606 for a family night organized by the Trust for Public Land. The linear park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, is work of art in its own right, a nearly three-mile-long trail for bikers, runners, and walkers, lined with prairie… Read more »