Inspire : Public Works Mar Apr 2013
35 SPECIAL NEEDS SPECIFIC CASE STUDY 1 Creating playgrounds for kids with special needs is one of many objectives of The Touched by Olivia Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the health and happiness of Australian children. Their vision is to establish a "Livvi's Place" in communities throughout Australia where children of all abilities can play side-by side, ensuring integration of children with special needs. To create their most recent Livvi's Place for the City of Ryde, the Foundation enlisted the help of Town and Park Furniture, which has manufactured outdoor and public use furniture since 1988. The new playground is now fully established in the City of Ryde's Yamble Reserve. "We had a good t with the project because we've always leant towards positively in uencing the recreation environment, improving the overall experience and increasing use and participation levels," said Town and Park General Manager Scott Freeman. "So we were delighted to work in conjunction with the head contractor, Hargraves Landscapes in the design, delivery and installation of a number of items for the project." Town and Park's brief involved re- engineering a large shelter structure to provide improved accessibility, the delivery of an accessible BBQ and drinking fountain, and the design and installation of a 12m curved pergola structure. "Both the shelter and pergola were re-designed to incorporate 100% FSC pure timber - part of our commitment to doing the right thing by the planet," said Freeman buckets and scoops that are reproductions of those used by Australia's forefathers. Outdoor play is not limited to the young. KOMPAN's marketing development manager Christian Schwerdtfeger is based in Queensland where the government has invested heavily in outdoor play and ftness equipment. More than 80 Brisbane parks alone have exercise equipment installed, many offering 45-60 minute circuit classes using park equipment for different ages and ftness levels. "Councils want to provide their community with the best free resources and high-quality equipment to support the inhabitants to thrive and to become more active,” says Schwerdtfeger. "As part of the LGAQ's healthy communities initiative, there is a growing trend to provide these kinds of facilities. They get people outdoors, socialising and they inhibit antisocial behaviour.” Building on the digital theme, he adds: "We could see machines that replicate the technological advances used in indoor gyms appearing in outdoor gyms.” Combining ball sports and ftness equipment within the same vicinity is another emerging trend he says. Whether for a playground or ftness area, durability of the equipment is paramount because equipment has to withstand frequent use and exposure to the changeable elements. "Durability is a predominant issue,” admits Coburn. “We are redesigning equipment so that it is stronger and requires less maintenance.” With weather in mind, manufacturers are also considering its impact on our young. Coburn explains: “We are trying to provide more shade and shelter options to cover playgrounds.” Mental stimulus seems to be a key trend for both children's playgrounds as well as outdoor ftness equipment. Digital elements provide str uctured challenges, while adding a social aspect whereby users take on a challenge together -- be it a timed game or group workout. An element of competition in exercise is never a bad thing. ••• Councils want to provide their communities with the best high quality equiment to help the inhabitants thrive and become more active.
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Public Works May Jun 2013