From bomb site to boutique: the playground and its journey from anarchy to economic development tool

Nils Norman talks about his ongoing research into Adventure Playgrounds and some of the more unusual and interesting playscapes found across Europe, Japan and the US that he has visited and photographed. He explores the history and ideas of the adventure playground movement in Europe and Japan and how certain playspaces, like adventure playgrounds and the playgrounds of the Dutch city planner Aldo van Eyke can be seen as potential alternative models for urban planning and the production of public space. He touches upon a brief moment in the 1950s when artists and architects were involved in innovative playground design and why this quickly fell out of fashion as fear of litigation and health and safety stifled creative collaborations. Making way for the "fixed play" risk-free playscapes of contemporary urban centres.

Presented as part of My City’s Still Breathing: A symposium exploring the arts, artists and the city. November 4-7th, 2010. Winnipeg, Manitoba - Cultural Capital of Canada 2010

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