With playgrounds, we see intelligent design and evolution as complementary in the creation of new concepts. We frequently discover creative methods to combine form and function. Playgrounds were originally designed by landscape architects who wanted to create public areas that would bring people together. Artists began to move in to impose their influence, and as a result, more innovative playground forms began to be explored.
So, how did we end ourselves in this situation? The conventional “post and platform” configuration that we see today wasn’t always the case.
By 1900, most major American towns had playgrounds that included a sandbox and a cubist metal climbing structure known as a “gymnasium.” By 1912, New York City had concluded that these gymnasiums were dangerous and had them removed from all of the city’s parks. Landscape architects began to take an interest in playground design in the 1930s, and artist Isamu Noguchi contributed abstract notions that helped drive the contemporary playground ahead.
Following WWII, the Baby Boom generation requested additional playgrounds. The majority of postwar urban playgrounds were planned to be shared by schools and parks. However, playground designers were divided into two groups during the 1950s: recreational movement (fitness) and art. It was an organized game.
The concept of unrestrained play had yet to sink in. At best, the development of safety surfacing was sluggish. A sandbox, see-saw, slide, and swings were all that was available on the playground. During the 1950s, the “handicapped” received special care, ironically as a result of injured soldiers from WWII and Korea appearing to playgrounds with their children. Robert Moses rejected Noguchi’s iconic 1952 design for the United Nations, sparking a heated controversy. The design was innovative, but it was never built because it was misunderstood.
By the 1960s, play elements had begun to connect. Massive climbing structures constructed of wood and stone, as well as composite constructions, were investigated. The goal was to make playgrounds appealing to children so that they would return to the streets, where they were supposedly doing to naught good. Not every playground has a post and platform structure. The Adventure Playground in Central Park is a beautiful throwback to a time when art and play were merging. There is no standing water since water flows down long channels and settles in a basin where it is drained. Sand, water, and climbing structures are all present. This historic park should be seen by every landscape architect!
We had entered the Age of Litigation by the 1970s. Suddenly, the cities of New York and Chicago were hit with multimillion-dollar damage settlements, and parks were forced to shut. If there was playground equipment on the property, its value fell. Some coops in New York City have closed their doors.
See-saws were banned in New York City, although they are still prohibited in other cities. The cost of insurance was so exorbitant that several communities chose to self-insure. By the 1980s, the CPSC had established rules, and the NPSI (National Playground Safety Institute) had established a certification scheme for playground designers. New suggestions or rules were followed by safety-engineered playgrounds, and now some states are requiring adherence to the CPSC regulation.
Playgrounds resurfaced, bolstered by innovative climbers that encouraged youngsters to utilize a variety of muscles. The tops of the slides had enclosures, and the sidewalls were taller. It has to become safer quickly. By and large, playgrounds improved, and by 2004, we had a playground that was so safe that it was difficult to say “no way.” We still have fractured bones at the end of the day, but they generally happen to kids who fall 2-3 feet or trip while running. Their bones are weaker, and let’s face it, one or two kids in every class were always in a cast. You can’t really blame the playground for this.
Isamu Noguchi is sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Nature ground.” His ideas are still used today: molded earth shapes generate hills, slopes, and curves around which playground equipment may be placed. Children utilize playground equipment more frequently and for longer amounts of time when it is situated in a natural environment with trees, plants, berms, and stones, according to research. A playground that has been crammed into a box or rectangle appears more institutional and unappealing. Even youngsters appear to have an aesthetic sensibility, which we designers observe.
We design consultants must keep up with all of these changes since it is our duty to be aware of them. We are sometimes the ones who bring issues to the attention of the manufacturers, and they do listen to us. We may not be given credit, but we helped shape some of the things you see around you.
How Do You Make A Safe DIY Playground In Your Backyard Or Neighborhood?
To begin, establishing a safe playground surface and acquiring essential equipment are the two most important concerns to address while creating a playground. The first concern is frequently neglected, despite the fact that the flooring is a critical factor in determining whether or not a kid may tumble down. On a playground, falls are the most common cause of injury! The force of a child’s fall is typically not cushioned by grass or natural dirt.
Another thing to consider is the equipment, which should not be overlooked. Obviously, current playing equipment can be used if it is in excellent working order and is maintained on a regular basis. When purchasing new equipment, it is important to pick a reputable manufacturer whose products meet international safety requirements. The manufacturer should tell you which equipment can be installed by yourself and which requires the services of a professional.
Calculating the size of a playground
Let’s begin by establishing a safe playground area that is large enough to accommodate all of the equipment as well as the impact area, which is where a child can fall. Keep in mind that the impact area must be free of obstructions. We need to know the critical fall height of the equipment in order to determine this area. If a kid can fall from a height of 2 meters, for example, the ground must be covered with protective playground flooring certified to withstand an impact of 2 meters. Furthermore, the flooring should extend 1.8 meters beyond the equipment’s edge. 2/3*critical fall height + 50cm is the formula for calculating the impact area.
This implies that the playground should always be paved with safety flooring that extends 1.5 to 2.5 meters beyond the equipment.
The maximum fall height is also 3 meters, which is an essential safety criterion. As a result, make sure that no equipment that a kid may stand on or climb is higher than 3 meters. Finally, don’t forget about common sense, which should be your first consideration while constructing a private playground.