Friday Forum: Play Design Training

Recently I was looking at the work of a firm whose playful, but not specifically playground, installation I had featured on the blog.  It turned out that they had also done some playground sites as part of large park developments; all of which were unimaginative and based on manufactured components.  And I wondered, why the difference?  Why would a firm that clearly had the capacity to be playful and creative when designing a park or a garden fall back on old standards when given a ‘playground’ brief?   I know, I know, maybe they were confined by their overlords to boring equipment.  But that isn’t a satisfying answer since designers routinely fight for their creative work.  Was something lacking in their training or experience that kept them from seeing ‘playground’ as ‘one-of-the-most-exciting-spaces-I-could-ever-be-asked-to-design’?

So I’ve been asking people in the landscape architecture/architecture world if they talked about play at all in their training, and the answer has been consistently ‘no, not once, not at all’.

What about you?  Did your LA/Arch course discuss play?  If you make playgrounds, how did you get there? Do you know of any courses that specialize in the design of physical space for play?   Do you think there ought to be one?  What might it include?  See you in the forum.  (comment under Friday Forum:  Play Design Training)

P.S.  If you haven’t been following the forum lately, please note a job posting from Theories Landscapes in London, and an interesting discussion on stray toys left on the playground, or add to the list of scrap stores!

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