Best Playgrounds and Playscapes of 2018

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We bid farewell to the past year with feelings of hope and accomplishment. As we set our sights on 2019, we take heart not only in the varied ways the tools and instruments of play, as defining elements of the public realm, are taking root beyond the playground, but also in the continued advance of… Read more »

‘Tis the Season for Play: A Holiday Wish List for Playgrounds

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With the holiday season in full swing, we’d like to showcase some recently released play options we’re really excited about. We like these designs for distinct reasons. Some uncover the enriching possibilities of the playground for children with atypical physical or cognitive needs. Others are especially innovative and daring in their designs. Still others create… Read more »

Designer Profile: School Zone Institute’s Anne Taylor on Learning by Design

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Around the start of the new millennium, Anne Taylor, Ph.D., the 85-year-old president of School Zone Institute (501-c-3), gave the keynote speech at a conference called Better Schools For a New Century, hosted in San Francisco by the America Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education. Then the director of the Institute for… Read more »

Access is Not Inclusion: The Battlecry of the Play Brigade

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A little more than four years ago, when Dawn Oates took her youngest daughter, Harper, to a neighborhood playground in Boston to play with her older twin siblings, she found herself deeply dispirited. For Harper, an eager two-year old born with a debilitating spinal cord injury at birth, there was nowhere to play. Graded walkways… Read more »

Come Feel the Brotherly Love and Win a Ping Pong Table at this Year’s ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia   

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rectangle table tennis

Philadelphia is a city known for its colonial history, intellectual heft, and industrial grit. The city’s widely spaced grid of roads, gardens, residences, and public squares, planned by Quaker William Penn in the fashion of a rural English town, frames a poignant historical backdrop for this year’s ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO, which will be… Read more »

Trampoline Parks: A Win for the Big City Birthday Party

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If there are seasons of life, there are also months and weeks. So, if I’m now entering life’s early autumn, the more precise time I am currently living through might be termed the birthday party years. Just about once a month, my wife and I travel with my son and daughter to a high-octane indoor… Read more »

Designer Profile: Jennifer Brooke on Meaningful Accessibility

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Jennifer Brooke was first attracted to landscape design as an undergraduate architecture student at the Parsons School of Design in New York. The founder and principal of Massachusetts-based Lemon Brooke, a firm she and husband Christian Lemon jointly direct, Brooke says the performative aspects of landscape design, akin to dance in its ephemeral movement and… Read more »

Designer Profile: Holly D. Ben Joseph

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Holly D. Ben-Joseph, principal of the eponymous Concord, Massachusetts-based landscape design firm, shares a workspace in The Bradford Mill with a brain trust of artists, interior designers, and engineers. It’s a wellspring of creative energy and it keeps her open to new ideas. She founded the practice in January 2005 after leaving Johansson Design Collaborative,… Read more »

Designer Profile: German manufacturer Spiel-Bau

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After the re-unification of Germany in 1990, there was a great need of infra structure improvements in the eastern regions. The development of playgrounds and play environments for children was essential. Seizing this demand, Juergen Schilling and Joern Schaefer founded Spiel-Bau GmbH and were immediately successful with their innovative designs of playground equipment. Since then,… Read more »

Doubling Down on the Wallholla: Washington, D.C. Micropark by Lee & Associates to Open This Fall

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An 8,000-square-foot micropark in northeast Washington D.C., scheduled to open this fall at the corner of Third and L Streets NE, is, functionally speaking, two parks in one. Half dog park, half children’s play area, the park designed by the architecture firm Lee & Associates and now under construction is the latest example of how… Read more »

The Shape and Form of Playgrounds

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To the curious eye, forms and shapes are everywhere. From turrets and lampshades to clock gears and armadillos, the world is alive with architecture. And it’s reasonable to presume most landscape architects and designers think of playgrounds this way: built or organic works, with a coherent form and structure, and a function designed for those… Read more »