Tag Archives: public space

What is it like to grow up in Moscow?

Young people on a bench

Image by Edwin Gardner, from Partizan Publik

In a couple of weeks I will be speaking at the Moscow Urban Forum, and I am asking for your help in making the most of this exciting opportunity. I want to find out more about everyday life for Moscow’s children. Can you help me discover what it is like to grow up in the neighbourhoods that the majority of Muscovite families live in?

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Roll up, roll up! London is Open for Play next week!

Glamis adventure playgroundMy plan to showcase some of London’s most playful places has been in the pipeline for a while. And now it’s around the corner. For all the latest info, follow this link to the mighty Playscapes blog – including handy onward links to the Open House website, with more details and maps for all the venues.

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Play in the Olympic Park: latest plans

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park aerial conceptHere in London, the Games are in full swing, and are hard to avoid. Perhaps easier to miss is the fact that plans are also well underway for the new public park that will be created in the wake of the Games. Indeed some key planning milestones were passed only last week.

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Join me on a tour of some of London’s most playful places

Glamis Adventure Playground

Glamis Adventure Playground

This post is an invitation to join me – and some kindred spirits – in September, for London’s first ever ‘Open for Play’ event. The programme includes site visits to some of the capital’s most innovative playgrounds, a walking tour of the acclaimed EC1 regeneration area, and an evening seminar.

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London leads the way with new planning guidance

Cover of draft GLA SPG on playThe Mayor of London has today released draft revised planning guidance for outdoor play, entitled Shaping Neighbourhoods: Children and Young People’s Play and Informal Recreation. The document shows that London’s decision-makers continue to take seriously the play needs of the capital’s children and young people.

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When you walk or you ride or you sit or you climb, that’s affordance

I’ve thinking a lot about affordances recently. An affordance is something in the environment that makes an offer to a person, or that reveals a possible function. Here is an example: a flat hard surface about 20 – 40 cm off the ground affords sitting.

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Two contrasting takes on play space design

Designing for play book coverPlay space design in the UK has undergone a renaissance. Lottery and government funding (while it lasted), inspirational ideas from overseas, and a more balanced approach to risk have all helped to fuel a growing number of great places for play. I suspect that most UK readers of this review can think of at least one new public playground in their area that looks altogether more inviting, engaging and challenging than anything that went before.

For some at the forefront of this movement – and I include myself here – items like the ‘springy chicken’ epitomise an impoverished way of thinking about what appeals to children. So when Barbara Hendricks in her book Designing for Play calls the ‘spillophøne’ – a closely related species – “a beautiful design”, I know my views of what makes for a good play space will be challenged. Continue reading