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 »

Small playgrounds and playspaces need not consist of crowded assemblages of equipment. In fact, restraints imposed by site conditions are often where some of the most creative and cohesive designs find their origins. Because there is not always the available space or budget needed for ambitious projects on the scale of MonstroCity in St. Louis… Read more »

“Do not be forever meddling, interfering, asking questions, showing them a better way. Give the constructive power of your children scope and elbow room – the temple that it builds is invisible to any eyes but theirs. If you blur and jostle their vision, it is lost.” —Joseph Lee, social activist, philanthropist, president of the… Read more »

If increasing urbanization and limited housing stock has led to a wave of micro-units, rooming houses, and residential hotels in spatially constrained cities such as New York and San Francisco, there is a corollary in the world of playgrounds. For lack of a better term: the micro-playground. These compact designs, which typically fit on footprints… Read more »

One of my favorite places to go for a walk is the Spruce Plot at the Morton Arboretum, outside Chicago. There is a perceptible hush and temperature drop on entering the forest, as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. A grid of towering spruces crowds out the sky. Dim light filters through… Read more »