Category Archives: Play spaces

On playgrounds, play areas, play spaces

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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An everyday playground adventure, from a child’s point of view

NYC playground video screenshotHow could I not share this? Everyday adventures on a New York City playground, as viewed from about 3 feet up. Recorded by a five-year-old girl. Continue reading

Playgrounds that rip up the safety rules

Girl hanging from a fallen tree in Valbyparken playgroundThis post has a simple aim: to get you to rethink playground safety. Through a handful of images of playgrounds from around the world, I hope to encourage you to abandon any preconceived notions you may have about what a safe playground looks like.

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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

Olympic playground plans unveiled

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has announced the winners of the design competitions for the north and south hubs of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Congratulations to both winning teams, and commiserations to all the runners-up.

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