Shortly before they co-founded Copley Wolff Design Group, Lynn Wolff asked John Copley to describe his childhood. They were both teaching at Boston Architecture College at the time, and had a standing Tuesday meeting to discuss their classes and projects. Ms. Wolff’s question wasn’t that unusual. The surprise came, mid-sentence, as Copley was talking about… Read more »

To trace the origins of the iconic American shopping mall, one must travel all the way back to the mid-twentieth century. It was in 1956 that Southdale, the first enclosed shopping space in the United States, opened outside of Minneapolis. Over the next fifty years, roughly 1,500 similar structures were built across the country, and… Read more »

Any parent who has ever witnessed a child’s first steps knows what the glow of fresh independence looks like. It is a messy, non-linear process, as the new toddler begins teetering around, falling, and getting up again. As parents, it can be simultaneously splendid and terrifying to watch, and it is a practice they’ll have… Read more »

As a child on a small farm in southwestern Arkansas, Joe Frost played with his friends in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. He played war and chase, built dams in the stream behind his grade school, and piled on his classmates in a game called “Dog Pile.” He devoured library books, government  pamphlets, comics,… Read more »

The title of Jonathan Safran Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has absolutely nothing to do with playgrounds. But the phrase has stuck with me as an illustration of what it means to be a child, where at times the world can be overwhelming and, frankly, a bit scary. Playgrounds are intended as… Read more »

Old situation The former Staatsliedenbuurt is an early 20th-century layout of Amsterdam. In recent years this area has undergone an extensive urban renewal. Social houses are renovated and partly sold to stimulate diversity among the inhabitants. A lot of emphasis is put on upgrading the public space’s quality. Gentrification has started but not as rapidly… Read more »

Eight years ago, on a five-day cycling tour of Berlin, Michelle Mathis stumbled upon her first bonafide adventure playground. What she saw caught her off guard: along several hundred linear feet of boardwalk, children unaccompanied by parents were using hammers, hand saws, and pieces of scrap wood to build forts, some as high as twenty… Read more »

Jared Diamond, an American scientist known for popular science books, such as Guns, Germs, and Steel and The World Until Yesterday, gave an interesting 2013 TedTalk concerning the wide differences in how societies regard senior citizens. As he mentions in the talk, one way these differences are manifest is in filial patterns and living arrangements. For… Read more »

Accessibility is crucial for children who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices to enjoy playgrounds, and a big part of that relies on surfacing.  Ground surfaces along accessible routes and maneuvering spaces must comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F 1951- 99 standard. The standard measures the work an individual must… Read more »

Across the country, more and more fitness equipment aimed at senior centers is coming on the market. From a health standpoint, it makes sense. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) notes that regular cardiovascular exercise can help seniors strengthen the heart and muscles, boost energy and endurance, and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Strength… Read more »

Encouraging Beneficial Play with Surfacing   Reducing risk while maintaining a fun play area often represents the main focus when discussing a playground’s surface. All of Goric’s Surfacing and Accessories products meet important ASTM standards for reducing the frequency and severity of fall-related incidents. Such risk reductions are supremely important, and they are also only the beginning… Read more »