Landscape Architect & Specifier News

SEP 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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The children made dioramas to express their ideas for an open courtyard space. Grasses, rocks and an open space in the center of a wooded circle of trees appealed to the children, indicative of their desires to play in natural environments. The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Voice of Play just surveyed 1,000 parents about children's play (see p. 94). Eighty percent of parents said their children enjoy playing outdoors significantly more than playing indoors. The parents said their children on average spend 2.03 hours playing outdoors each day. Continued from page 18 20 Landscape Architect and Specifier News had an intense interest in the natural world. Their responses in the survey expressed eagerness to explore, investigate, manipulate and engage at a very active level. It was the author's opinion at that time that the younger children were increasingly acquiring preferences and behaviors that formerly belonged to older children. Their selections and preferences demonstrated a higher level of awareness of their environment aesthetically, as they indicated how they felt good or bad about spaces, and practically, as they determined whether a space was safe or not. In contrast to the 1999 case studies, the Norgate children (2014) were given free rein to express themselves through drawings and dioramas. The children appeared to restrain their enthusiasm for playing in the natural world. The work illustrated a shift from the desire to play in natural environments to the desire to play in spaces with strong safety boundaries and structured elements like fish and frog ponds, or illustrative lazy rivers, water slides and plunge pools, or a cluster of a few trees or berry bushes and one tall tree to climb up to see all around. The space provided was an open courtyard area, but the author doesn't feel the size restricted the children's imagination. In this brief writing, we can't express all the facets of the research at Norgate in terms of cultural significance to the First Nations children. However, the use of colour, the selection of the materials for their imagining in the dioramas, the metaphors for fire, air, water, sky meeting earth, and the blending or expression of habitat creation for fish and birds are clearly intended. Shelter spaces are sought high and low, as well as pathways for journeys between spaces, over bodies of water, all indicative of stories the children were conveying. The author witnessed a change from active to passive engagement and the prevalence of TVs, computer imagery, many forms of benches, tables, and seating areas makes one wonder what cultural expressions of lifestyle have flowed from the suburban community. What do you notice when you pass a playground today? Many playgrounds are p l a y g ro u n d Continued on page 104

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