Monday, March 31, 2014

NYC playgrounds

This webpage is titled "New York's Most Amazing Playgrounds" and showcases several parks around New York that stand out among the rest. There are 2 in particular that I found really intriguing and innovative, mostly because they use the ideas of imagination and creativity as a basis for the park's layout and design.

"Imagination Playground" (pictured below)

"imagination Playground" was designed by architect David Rockwell and is inspired from its surroundings, like many of the playgrounds in NYC. This one is located near the Seaport and the park itself is layed out to feel like an old ship. It uses sand and water to reinforce the motif. But what I really find great about this park is that one of the main attractions is this pile of blue foam pieces that can fit together. The kids need to CREATE their own toys! Because of the size of the foam blocks, a child can create a small structure but him/herself, or can team up with a few others and create a larger, more exciting piece. This encourages intergroup interactions through the concept of a "common goal," without the stress of being forced into playing with the others. There is also a large ramp that encircles the sand pit (only available in the summer, and hopefully cleaned regularly) which makes the width of the playground accessible for handicapped children as well.

The next park I found intriguing was one of the 7 playgrounds located in Prospect Park. This one is known as "Vanderbilt Park" and was just renovated in 2010, making it Prospect Park's most recently refurbished playground.

Again, what I found here was a possibility for imagination and learning. Over-structured park limit children's imagination and get them used to conforming, even when it's about playing. Playtime should be wild and adventurous. This park allows that (in a small, urban, kind of way) by providing structures like the one shown above. The piece is well designed and full of possibilities. It is pleasing to the eye, which is important because the parents need to WANT to bring their kids to the park as well. There is a shaded seating area for parents to hang out in, as well as water features and even a rock tunnel. This certainly complements the surrounding trees and rocks of Prospect Park and feels very integrated in that respect. What's even better about this playground is that there is a huge open field right next to it. I envision children playing on these structures and becoming inspired. How many ways can I climb on this? can I hope through this part? Can I fit through here? When the answers aren't obvious within the design, methods must be explored! And when they're motivated by the structures, it will only complement their creative play in the rest of the park. Ideally making more innovative and free-thinking children.

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