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Playgrounds: What Is More Important Safety Or Design?

Have you ever noticed that playgrounds are not always used for play? And that one can play in different settings and environment. This is what makes playing so versatile; it is also an important tool for the development and growth of children and for adults too. The UN identifies play as a right for all children around the world, playing helps children’s brains develop and helps them thrive in the world they live in.

Some of us may have not really thought about playgrounds much, but for the adults with children playgrounds are basically a part of everyday routine. Playgrounds are a great addition to any neighbourhood. They are a place for people to meet and socialise, children to play and events to happen. Playgrounds for many adults are the perfect environments to take their children to play as they are considered a safe space.

Really good playgrounds for example are designed and managed in such a way that it is the most ideal place for both children and supervising adults. Plus the type of games used help children develop certain motor skills, helps children meet new people and socialise and most importantly is considered a good workout. In a way playgrounds are the most obvious solution for adults when it comes to their kids, and just recently new studies in Europe and the US are trying to quantify “play value” of a playground. Most of the people who measure the benefits are adults, which give bias results. Some of the factors measured are the number of activities available, and how certain activities compare to each other, but again all adult perceptions. However in Hong Kong, the playground study will include both the input of adults and children, so it would be interesting to compare the results and really see if adults have a far off perception of things than children do.

One of the main factors taken into consideration when it comes to playground design and establishment is safety. Sometimes taking safety way too much into consideration, just takes the fun and creativity out of playgrounds.

Playgrounds are different than a natural park setting, they are in a way enclosed, there are markers, and sand pits sometimes and open spaces that ensure the safety of those who use it. It just so happens, that sometimes playgrounds seem to be an industrial play area that are not related whatsoever to the culture or vibe of the area they are in, or linked to the natural environment around it. Today it seems many playgrounds around the world are starting to look alike, bland.

What is needed now when it comes to future design is playgrounds that are more innovative, that reflect different cultures, different scenes from fairy tales, different stories. Playgrounds that reflect history and a wild imagination, because it will in turn stimulate children more. There is so much innovation that can be incorporated to playground design now and it is important to bring new methods in, to promote a more efficient system of play that both children and adults can benefit from.

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