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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Page 79 of 149

On October 12, 2013, following nearly three years of design, extensive fundraising, and construction, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at A Park Above. Designed by Consensus Planning, Inc., with the city's park and recreation department, this all-inclusive 6-acre park in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, is the state's first universally accessible park, setting the standard for all future parks in New Mexico. Numerous meetings were held with community stakeholders and experts to ensure the park design would meet the needs of a broad range of disabilities and abilities. Although the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of playgrounds have long been praised, the amenities of such places have often only been available to agile, able-bodied children. ADA guidelines ensure a wheelchair may traverse a site, but it only identifies the bare minimum to achieve accessibility. Issues such as balance, movement, tactile, visual, and auditory experiences must be considered to make all users feel as if they belong on the playground. This is not to say that traditional playground features such as belt swings and slides are obsolete; rather, these features need to be incorporated alongside truly accessible swings and other features so that children of all abilities can play together rather than be segregated based on their abilities. These ideals set the visionary goals for A Park Above. A combination park and playground, the sloping site is fully accessible and includes fun and therapeutic play experiences designed to meet typical playground expectations, as well Above: A Park Above, located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, was designed by Consensus Planning, Inc., in conjunction with the city's parks and recreation department. What sets this park "above" other parks is the deliberate integration of play equipment, shade structures, site furnishings, finishes, landscaping and technology to address safe navigation and stimulation for people of all ages and abilities. 80 Landscape Architect and Specifier News A Par k A bove Landscape Architecture by Consensus Planning, Inc. Where All Kids Play

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