The Learning Academy – 200

200 Level Courses

All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time: How socially sustainable are your parks?

Parks today face the challenge of providing environments where all visitors can feel safe, secure and fully engaged. Universal design increases usability, safety, health and social participation. Discover how applying the principles of universal design can ultimately contribute to social equity and social sustainability. Playground Planners will be provided practical examples of how to create park and recreation spaces that encourage health and wellness for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Learning objectives:

  1. Disabilities as defined by environmental conditions.
  2. Concepts of social equity and social sustainability and how they are supported by Universal Design.
  3. The history and evolution of Universal Design as compared to accessible design (ADA compliant design) in the context of architecture and landscape architecture.
  4. How the goals and principles of universal design contribute to a park design that goes beyond accessibility and encourages inclusion.
  5. The concepts of social equity and social sustainability is important to the long term success of parks.

Design Excellence in Play: Great design looks simple. Getting there not so much.

What role does good design play in society? How do you know it when you see it? What goes into creating it? Is excellence ever easy? Through these questions and examples from around the world, we will examine global trends and their impacts on designing impactful playground environments today. Discussions will also focus on the opportunities for stronger collaboration between playground designers and park planners.

Learning objectives:

  1. How great design in everyday life directly impacts playground environment design and maximizes community participation.
  2. How great design influences great playground design—from new ideas to new materials, bringing design aesthetic to great collaboration to play environments.
  3. Global design trends and how to integrate them into play environments.

Evidence-Based Landscape and Playground Design: Transforming play into development

More than just play, children with developmental disorders benefit from strategically designed sensory playgrounds and sensory gardens. A study, completed by the STAR Center in Denver, Colo., evaluated the outcomes of outdoor play by children, therapists and families experiencing the play space as a natural setting for rich, multisensory occupational therapy interactions.

Learning objectives:

  1. Research on working with children who have developmental disorders in the context of a sensory garden/playground.
  2. Elements of landscape design that facilitate self-regulation and social participation for all children and contribute to quality of life in sensory playgrounds/gardens.
  3. Research findings from this project, which go beyond playground design, and have implications for schools, early childhood and therapeutic play environments.

Shaped by Play: The Formative Role of Play and Playgrounds