Natural play spaces blend materials to create a purposely-complex experience with an interplay of natural objects, to challenge physical skills and fire the imagination. Through the competition, AILA and TCCS are aiming to create natural play opportunities in three existing parks to encourage greater ownership by local communities of their play spaces.
The three parks include Finn Street in O’Connor, Telopea Park in Barton, and Tuggeranong Town Park in Greenway. These locations have been identified by TCCS as primed and ready for improvements and will provide an even spread of natural play opportunities across the ACT.
“Access to natural parks, green spaces, and recreation areas is essential to the well-being of urban communities. From improving the health and wellness of communities to creating a healthier physical environment, parks are vital to the future resilience of the ACT,” commented Fleur Flanery, Director of City Presentation, Transport Canberra and City Services.
Research has also demonstrated that natural playgrounds can provide children with more opportunities to develop gross-motor skills1. AILA ACT President, Catherine Keirnan, adds, “Contact with nature has been associated with a number of health benefits for children, such as improved cognitive function, increased creativity and improved social skills.”
“Creating parks that provide a more challenging physical environment with high levels of amenity is vital to improving the resilience of our young people for the challenges of life ahead.”
“These play areas are part of existing parks, so it seems only logical to invite those local communities to collaborate with ACT landscape architects on the ideas and designs,” said Ms Keirnan.
“We encourage parents, childhood educators, university students and other interested people to collaborate with experts in the field on the design and construction by contributing their ideas to create a natural play experience.”
“We hope that having direct community input and participation in upgrading three play spaces will foster ownership and care of the parks by their community and inspire the next generation. Plus, this collaboration will demonstrate the transformational work landscape architects do as part of city building,” she continues.
Under the competition, entries will be assessed on their understanding of nature play and their approach to community engagement of both adults and children. Another feature of the competition is involvement of University of Canberra landscape students in the execution phases of the project.
Applications close on the 17 October 2016 and will be judged by an expert jury as part of the International Festival of Landscape Architecture taking place from 27 – 30 October 2016.
To find out more or to submit an application email AILA Contact Officer Sophie Seck at firstname.lastname@example.org
About ACT Government Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate
TCCS provides connected services for the people of Canberra. Their extensive range of services include ensuring public places are well looked after, making it easy for people to get around the city, or generally just keeping the city running. This is so important to the City of Canberra.
1. What makes a good play area for children? By Dr Lisa Wood and Dr Karen Martin, The University of Western Australia