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PLAY


IT’S OUR REPSONSIBILITY TO ENGAGE AND DESIGN BETTER SPACES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE


ADAM WHITE CMLI DIRECTOR, DAVIES WHITE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS


T


he important thing to remember is that the success of any public play space project is not down to one


thing – there are a few key milestones that need to be met if you want to give your play space a fighting chance of being around in 10 years’ time.


Firstly it is essential to know the dif- ference between consultation and engagement. All too often timescales are reduced and budgets cut and a three- month engagement programme becomes an afternoon consultation event.


To encourage ownership and respect for a space you’ve got to get the children actively in- volved in the design and build of the project. It’s also essential to involve the council’s mainte- nance team from the outset, as they know what works and what doesn’t on the ground.


‘Big Society’ sounds like a fantastic idea,


however, we are finding more and more councils are using this as an excuse to del- egate the final decision on what to do with their public play spaces to the community. This is great, but without professional guidance and support the general public are not going to know what’s possible and are


increasingly likely to default back to what they know. More and more KFC (Kit, Fencing and Carpet) playgrounds with springy chick- ens, bow top fencing and rubber bouncy wet pour surfaces are reap- pearing on the design briefs. I believe there’s got to be some


connection between the value we put on public spaces for young people and the re- spect they show them later in life. It’s our responsibility as professionals to ensure we’re genuinely engaging and designing better spaces for our young people. Some councils prioritise genuine engage- ment and design quality in the creation of play spaces, as for the others – shame on you!


CLAIRE MOLLETT SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR, HIPPO LEISURE PRODUCTS


shows how the waterphobic, less water confident and often fearful group of chil- dren (typically nought to eight age range) respond to the introduction of water play equipment in leisure centres and swimming pools around the country.


E


ngaging children in the world of wa- ter play is certainly not a ‘one splash suits all’ situation. Recent research


Multi-sensory water play can encourage even the most reluc- tant toddler to get their feet wet. It can build confidence to help them cope with traumas that are often associated with swimming pools, splashing water and put- ting their face into the water.


Products that promote parental partici-


pation and inclusive play scenarios are vital to these early stages of development. A combination of interactive toys – creating gentle water flows, cascades and waterfalls


72 Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital


are perfect to attract and distract these young minds. A recent survey of leisure centre managers showed that parents will travel a greater dis- tance to leisure centres offering a variety of water play equipment to please their children. Many


centres experience record figures following refurbishments and the introduction of new interactive play equipment. The returns for a relatively small investment can be profit- able in more ways that one.


Issue 4 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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