Back to the Future of Playgrounds

A New York Times op-ed (Danger: Playground Ahead) by Allison Arieff (5/29/07) points out that playgrounds were originally invented to train future citizens in a social democracy, but to reduce liability issues have offered children less and less opportunity to shape their experience.

Her Op-Ed features a handful of artists/architects to reimagine playgrounds and also describes the Imagination Playground that was recently designed that lets children build things, tear them down and start again, so that each visitor encounteres a different experience.

Playgrouds were also used in the Progressive Era to help build stronger social ties among recent immigrants and between them and the longer-term natives.   The Op-Ed serves as a reminder that we may not be doing enough to maximize the social opportunitiy inherent in traditional playgrounds or more updated forms.

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