King of the Hill: Topography in Children’s Playgrounds

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In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh was asked about the 40-foot-tall climbing walls at Maggie Daley Park, a sprawling, 20-acre mega-park towering over Chicago’s lakefront. His response: “They were designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates architects and landscape architects (and me!) and fabricated by Entre-Prises in… Read more »

Why Waiting for the Bus Can Be Fun

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Few of us like to wait at the bus stop. Why? Because aside from scrolling Facebook or surveying the cracks in the sidewalk, there is not a whole to do. Some of the discomfort we feel may be intentional. A recent article in the Atlantic describes how “homeless deterrence technologies,” design features such as uncomfortable… Read more »

Why Sand and Water Play Are Good for Children

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Long before the iPad and Pokémon GO, there was sand and water. The two are foundational to the earth and offer near limitless possibilities for young children’s imaginations. During the summer months, I take my two-year-old son to Chicago’s Montrose Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan. After laying out a blanket, I let him dig… Read more »

Designer Spotlight – Ilisa Goldman and the Power of Our Natural World

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Reclaiming Community Spaces Creates Healthier Environments for us All     This past November, Rooted in Place, the design firm founded by Ilisa Goldman,orchestrated a 4 day community build event to transform a parking lot just outside ARTS (a local arts based youth center) into an, ‘arts-dedicated community space for art-making, performing and exhibiting.’ Local residents were invited… Read more »