How a Parkour Course Revived an Aging Playground

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Sometimes the best playground designs result from tight constraints. Six years ago, students and staff at Amigos School, a pre-K-8 Spanish and English immersion school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved into a new home. The former administrative building at 15 Upton Street had good bones and the size to accommodate more than 400 students from across… Read more »

The 6 Best Sculptural Playgrounds

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If the playspaces finding their way to the “best-of” lists of publications such as Business Insider, Mental Floss, and Land 8 are a sign of the future, the days of the humdrum platform-and-beam playground are in short supply. Whether found in Copenhagen, Sydney, or Memphis, the world’s best playgrounds are filled with tunnels, ropes, cables,… 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 »

How to Design a Park to Build Community

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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 »

The Van Beuningenplein

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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 »

Top 3 Ways Surfacing Boosts Play

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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 »

Creating Intergenerational Public Spaces

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A Place and Space for All Benefits Everyone   Many are well aware that intergenerational interactions create enriching experiences for all involved. With the incorporation of design elements that effectively encourage an active involvement from the many adults in a child’s life, a play area’s overall value and ability to promote strong development can be significantly increased. … 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 »

Play Garland Oosterpark by Carve

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Play Garland Oosterpark by Carve The Oosterpark, built in 1891, is part of the Amsterdam 19th century extension girdle, and is the first large public park that was realised by the municipality. Since 2011, plans are being made to integrate the monumental public buildings in the northern zone into the park. The fences will be… Read more »

Integrating Music with Playscapes

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Complementary Benefits Makes Adding Musical Elements to Playgrounds a Truly Smart Idea     Play and music already share a vocabulary. A self-contained part of a musical composition is called a, ‘movement.’ It is common for sportscasters to describe an athlete or team as, ‘getting into rhythm.’ The laughter that emits from a well-designed playscape is often,… Read more »

Going Against the Grain of Modern Materials with Robinia Wood

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Natural Karolam® Robinia Wood Offers Impressive Benefits Over Modern Materials   K&K Karolam® – Robinia Wooden Posts | Video via YouTube.com   At their very best, playgrounds and playscapes mimic the joy of running, jumping, climbing, and otherwise playing in a wild and natural setting. They fulfill our instinctual desire to climb trees, swing from branches,… Read more »

Designer Spotlight – Mitch Ryerson’s Woodworking and the Art of Play

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The Original Jungle Gym was a Tree, and Mitch Ryerson Knows How to Use Them     Creating a Playground Tree | The Esplanade Association via YouTube.com   When explored by the hands of a skilled artist, playfulness itself becomes an expressive language. At its best, the work of a well-seasoned woodworker, designer, and artist such as Mitch Ryerson communicates the power… Read more »