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Play opportunities will be threaded throughout Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – from rolling green landscapes and wetlands to bespoke play structures


the forefront of progressive approaches to design here in the UK. Their approach aims to invite families to range across the site, rather than feeling obliged to stay in a single ‘play ghetto’. By using multi-functional, playful out-


door furniture and features that exploit slopes and changes of level, this approach also means that visitors of different ages and with different interests can all make use of the same space at different times. For instance, a large amphitheatre around a flat, hard surfaced central area can do more than provide a formal performance arena; when the shows are over, groups of varying sizes can meet, children with scooters can ride around, and the seating can double up as a parkour/free-running feature. The Scoop outside London’s City Hall shows that this flexible approach can work well in practice. We know that some families will want


to come for a day out to the South Park, and will be looking for a child-friendly location to base themselves, settle down for a picnic and relax while their children


Issue 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012


The park is just one piece of the legacy jigsaw. Another 10 play areas, along with a dozen or so doorstep play spaces, are proposed in the Legacy Community Strategy


get down to the serious business of play- ing. Hence one of the ‘rooms’ that makes up the main South Plaza will include a cluster of bespoke play structures that will cater for children of all ages and abilities, providing enough fun and stim- ulation to justify a lengthy stay.


AT ONE WITH NATURE UP NORTH The North Park – just a brisk 10-min- ute stroll up the Lea Valley – will have a very different feel. Here, the plan is for a highly naturalistic play space that will allow children to build dens, dam streams, search for bugs and get mud under their fingernails. The landscape is being designed by LUC, who also created the Diana Princess of Wales Playground in Kensington Gardens (with 800,000


visitors per year, this has a strong claim to be the UK’s most popular play area). LUC is working with Erect Architecture,


who designed the RIBA award-winning Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground. Dramatic changes in level, large-scale trees and tall climbing structures are part of the mix, upping the adrenaline level for older children and young people. Here too, the idea of a ‘play ghetto’ has been rejected, and the boundary be- tween the play space and the wider park landscape will be permeable. This will al- low play to spill out across the park, and also means the playground should be able to cope with high visitor numbers (something the Diana playground strug- gles with, due to its high mesh fencing and single point of entry).


Read Sports Management online sportsmanagement.co.uk/digital 63


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