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: Swampoodle Park by Lee & Associates Earns Several Design Awards

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

Could A Music Playground Be Your Child’s First Instrument?

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When children learn to talk, they start by making sounds, then imitating those they hear. Richard Cooke, who has created a family of xylophone-like and percussive instruments for parks, believes playing simple instruments by ear may be a better way for children to begin to learn how to play music than trying to read music… Read more »

STEM Learning through Sand and Water Play

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If you’ve been following national education trends with even passing interest, you’re familiar with STEM. The curricular model focuses on educating students across four disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math) through an integrated, applied learning approach. It first gained ground under the Obama administration’s 2009 “Educate to Innovate” campaign, galvanized by the recognition that US… Read more »

How to Get Renovation Right: A Case Study of the Healy Playground in Boston

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In nearly any playground renovation, one of the most complex and overlooked challenges landscape architecture firms and municipal departments face is siting and configuring the project to serve the community’s interests. Often a successful project is one that cleverly toes a line between historical and regulatory constraints and the stakeholders’ strongly held ambitions. Working within… Read more »