Designed to take children on an exciting themed play journey and inspired by the flight path above, Heatley Park features a custom-designed Corocord Plane along with other transport themed play equipment. Designed in conjunction with Townsville City Council and Place Design Group, Heatley Park is filled with families playing on a daily basis. We sat down with Hywel Jones, Design Principal at Place Design Group, here is what he had to say:
What was your design inspiration for Heatley Park?
The play equipment was already pre-purchased by Council who prepared the original master plan. However, as the park is directly under the flight path for TVL airport, planes fly over the park daily. Also, RAAF planes regularly fly over, so it was fitting to feature a plane in the play equipment to reflect this, hence the runway design in the rubber softfall.
2. What is your favourite thing about designing parks or playspaces?
Creating places where children want to go to play and play creatively, making up their own imaginary games, especially where these spaces become destinations for groups of children and their families. In Townsville at least, you rarely see lots of kids playing in playgrounds. Heatley Park however has become a destination for children’s birthday parties almost every weekend. This is a great thing. In this instance, the playground is fully fenced so parents feel safe letting their children run around while they can supervise from the bench seats and shelters. There are just a few fully enclosed play spaces here and all seem to be popular with young families. You also see new mums with younger children gather in these parks most mornings when the older kids are in school, so its good to see children of all ages loving these spaces.
3. What trends can you see evolving in park design in the next 5 years?
A lot more opportunities for interaction between children and parents/carers, lots more inclusive play, and play spaces for children with special needs.