At Urban Play we believe well-designed parks should act as an important hub for the community, attracting families, boosting the popularity of suburbs and creating a focal point for activities. A well-designed park supports economic, social and physical growth. It fosters community engagement by creating a space for families to come together, boosting the success of the local economy and encouraging healthier lifestyle choices.
Councils that place a high priority on parks and open spaces are helping build more vibrant communities and reaping the economic benefits. Communities with well-designed parks and playgrounds experience an increase to house prices and are attractive to retirees, young home-buyers, established home-buyers and businesses. Frederick Law’s study tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to Central Park in New York City over a 17 year period. The study found a clear correlation between proximity to green space and above-average property values. As our cities transition into higher-density living methods, open and green space and playground proximity becomes more desirable in the property market, increasing popularity of the community and attracting increased business and development activity and driving economic benefits skyward.
A well-designed park should incorporate elements for people of different ages and abilities. Children experience overwhelming developmental advantages from play. Our playgrounds encourage physical, emotional, social and cognitive development and allow children to learn and play as individuals and as part of groups alongside family, friends and caregivers. Inclusive and all abilities play are also important aspects of a well-designed playground. The benefits of inclusive play are not limited to children with different abilities and extends to the entire community, supporting equality, diversity and acceptance for all. Parks and playgrounds create spaces for communities to connect through shared experience and foster community engagement. They provide a venue for social cohesion and encourage interaction of people from different social and cultural demographics.
Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and focus on technology has a direct impact on health and well being across multiple generations. Parks and playgrounds are spaces that help combat rising obesity levels and promote active, outdoor play for children and adults. Active outdoor play advances physical and emotional well being and improves behavioural issues in children of all ages. Ideal spaces should enhance agility, balance and coordination as well as speed, endurance and strength while providing fun and engaging play activities. Outdoor play reinforces children’s ability to focus and creates physical and cognitive challenges that are important to learning and behavioural development. Well-designed parks and playgrounds should incorporate activities that require turn-taking, sharing, role play and creative or imaginative play are ideal for strengthening socio-emotional and communicative skills and most importantly, teach children how to interact with others and themselves in a healthy way.
We can’t forget about adults and seniors when designing parks and playgrounds. Play equipment should be accessible and feature a 360 design to allow caregivers to provide support and interact with children during play. Parks that incorporate fitness equipment are a major drawcard for an area and allow users to pursue a healthier lifestyle in an independent and empowering way, supporting physical, social and emotional wellbeing for the entire community.
Well-designed parks are a beating heart for communities and provide the necessary foundation for economic, social and physical growth. They foster community engagement by offering a space where people can come together. They encourage healthy living and personal development for people of different ages and abilities. A well-designed park becomes a destination for the community and synonymous with all that is great about a suburb, a space where boring is banished and a legacy for future generations.