Playspaces: The adventure evolution

A boy and girl are in a forest and are assembling lots of fallen branches to make a hideout.Playspace designers have an important role to play in society. That’s because play is an essential part of human development.  And as society evolves so too should playspaces. The recent move away from control and safety to adventure play offers plenty of room for creative designs. Recycled, natural or found materials rather than manufactured equipment allows for imaginative play. In line with the concepts of universal design, playspaces are evolving and designers are improving as they go. It means a lot to parents to have an inclusive playspace for their whole family.

An article in Landscape magazine covers the topic of play and design features. It has several good examples to share although they don’t appear to be inclusive. Nevertheless, some of the landscape architects featured are making their designs more inclusive. The Evolution of Playspaces is an informative article for anyone involved in playspaces. 

Two small boys are crouched by the side of a pond and are reaching into the water. For more see a separate article on inclusive playspaces and the Everyone Can Play guide. 

See also Adventure play and children with disability for a research paper on the same topic.

The Everyone Can Play website has a video where parents talk about what it means for their family to have an inclusive play space.

 

Playgrounds and mental health

Four children are in an open space with buildings in the background. They are jumping in the air and holding hands .Access to play spaces can improve mental well-being as children grow up according to an article by Alice CovattaShe argues that there is a connection between lack of play and the rise of mental health conditions. The way we design our urban areas has an impact on play in outdoor locations and this in turn either encourages or discourages play. The article expands on these concepts and uses case studies to highlight the issues and the solutions and introduce play as sustainable design. The article comes from the latest edition of Urban Design and Mental Health, which has several interesting articles.

NSW Government has published a guide to taking a universal design approach to play spaces, Everyone Can Play.