The more a society ensures this right for all, the healthier it, and its people, are. The citizens of the United States are to be congratulated for taking the lead to enhance access to play areas.
Typical of most visionary movements, the results have been a mixed blessing. As with all governmental regulations, the standard is an exercise in compromise and is basically designed to provide the most access at the least cost.
Here are some examples. Firm and stable paths of travel for wheelchairs are ideal, but when inside the fall zone of play equipment, they have to be resilient; they are expensive and a less expensive alternative, engineered wood fiber EWF is allowed to meet this need.
Transfer stations, which many players find very difficult to use, are deemed sufficient to provide access to elevated play activities on small structures. Large structures are required to have ramps that double the cost of a play structure, are visually unappealing, and have no play value.
In the early days of the standards these structures where fitted with long ramps and were not well received. Nowadays the more typical design is to use earth forms and bridges to provide elevated access, a far more attractive and functional solution. The great thing about the deckless concept is that all of the activity is accessible from the ground.
What we have found is that it is necessary to create fairly elaborate and unique environments in order to attract the whole community. If we were to take an inventory of playspaces nationwide, what we would see is that there are a few extraordinary playspaces that really do allow all children regardless of abilities to be playing together.
But we also see that the vast majority of playgrounds, while they meet the letter of the law, they do not meet the inclusion needs of children where they spend most of their time, at their small local park.
For too long the parks and recreation community has felt that simply adding some play apparatus into a field of mowed lawn will meet the needs of the community. Those days are over. Playgrounds are losing their customers and we need to do more. The trend that is emerging Athlete dating reality vs imagination playground manhattan days is that large playspaces are relying less and less on a single equipment provider or even commercial apparatus at all.
I recently visited the site and had a chance to talk with the creator, Athlete dating reality vs imagination playground manhattan Villarreal. What initially drew me to Magical Bridge were the images of the extraordinary playhouse that is at once playful and refined. Created by Barbara Butler, it is a tour de force and reflects her vast experience building residential playhouses where parents and kids get to ask for what they really want.
The stage element is a feature that I think all playgrounds should have, but never do. The interior details include a bakery and workshop.
Best of all, the two-story design makes the ramps logical and well integrated rather than an obvious stuck on ADA requirement. I was also impressed by the lack of commercial equipment. This is a great illustration of the power of that approach.
As with most site-built projects, commercial elements are mainly limited to the actual play apparatus, and all of the support and context is locally crafted providing the best of both worlds — ASTM compliant and maintainable play events in a unique and beautiful presentation. Walking the site I was impressed that the poured-in-place surfacing worked well.
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As with most playgrounds these days with their excessive fall zone requirements, the various small features such as rockers were set far apart. Normally, this just looks stupid, but here the sense is of spaciousness and generosity. I learned, for example, that none of the Athlete dating reality vs imagination playground manhattan domestic vendors were at all responsive to the very clear design requirements that were set forth in the RFP.
Except for the slides, the rest of the equipment is either custom made or imported from Europe. My visit was mid-day during the week and there were at least 50 kids and parents actively using the space.
Olenka had gone to great lengths to preserve the existing trees and went to the considerable expense to import mature trees that together create a sense of space that is impossible with canopies. The mature oaks are adjacent to the playhouse, which has stone seats arranged in amphitheater style in front of the stage with game tables behind them, which creates a natural gathering place that was brimming with activity.
As I have followed the development of these inclusive parks, there is another feature to them that is rarely noticed.
The better examples generally include some form of programming. Generally, such programming involves busing in children from programs with special needs. In other cases a community of families is formed and events are planned for this group. While these programs are unquestionably valuable, they tend not to be inclusive.
Indeed, they can reinforce the perception that the playspace is primarily for this population. Magical Bridge goes about this in a very different, and to my mind, a much more effective way. Their programming is for the whole community. The concept is Kindness Ambassadors, who are there to play with the community and to spread kindness.
On opening day hundreds of Kindness Wands where hung spreading kindness everywhere. Olenka now faces the dilemma of how to ensure that the project she has invested eight years of her life into continues to thrive now that it has been turned over to the City of Palo Alto.
In the coming months she will be working with the city hall to get permanent staffing to provide Kindness Ambassadors on an on-going basis. Our project has often been held as an example of the most magical really! All too often donors are great at funding construction, but rarely, if ever, willing to fund staffing. The key is to ensure that the programs that are presented at the playground are seen as serving the whole community, not a small sector. When everyone benefits, this becomes a Athlete dating reality vs imagination playground manhattan part of the recreation programming and everyone wins.
Magical Bridge is a shining demonstration of what can happen when the public and private sector work together. While a fully inclusive destination playground is a wonderful thing, it is not the whole, Athlete dating reality vs imagination playground manhattan perhaps even the best, solution to a fully inclusive community.
Since it will not be possible to make small playspaces better at accommodation, neighborhood parks can at least do a better job at being inclusive and not just accessible.
Yes, there are budget issues, but activists alone cannot be the sole source for providing for critical community recreational needs. Recreation professionals are the ONLY people fully qualified to competently develop solutions to comprehensive inclusive recreation.