Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2014
30 Public Works Professional January-February 2014 DIGITAL PLAYGROUND “Our number-one objective was to engage adolescents, and we have defnitely achieved that,” he says. “It has brought the community together.” Morrison says ICON products, which are created using tamper-proof stainless steel and low-voltage LED lighting, have low running costs and are created with minimum maintenance in mind. He adds that while most of the wiring is hidden underground, the outdoor electronic components are designed for durability. "There have been no major problems with the equipment since it was installed," says Morrison. When asked if there were any challenges with the installation of the high-tech equipment, Urban laughs and says it was like playing “LEGO for grown-ups”. “The equipment arrives in beautifully packed boxes and is a breeze to put together. KOMPAN knows what it’s doing. It wasn’t the frst one installed in the world, just the frst one in Australia,” he says. Urban says the computerised playground, which won the coveted 2011 Design Award of the Year at the Inter national Design Awards, was all about putting “fun back into ftness” by enticing kids to be physically active using a digital platform they can relate to. “The feedback from the community has been incredible. There are so many boring parks where there is nothing to remotely interest anyone apart from toddlers. Why do you think those sorts of parks get vandalised? It’s because the kids are bored out of their brains," says Urban. “The park in Springfeld Lakes [dubbed Robelle Domain] is a tiny speck in the scheme of things, but it's seen as a big destination. There are families that travel for 45 minutes to get to the park and some of them stay all day because they live in tiny fats and don’t have their own backyard and really appreciate the space," he says. Urban believes such dynamic outdoor public playgrounds will help tackle Australia’s burgeoning obesity crisis. He says the digital park – which was the product of years of development by KOMPAN -- has used the latest cutting-edge technology to attack the epidemic. "As well as the social interaction, we are giving children a really good reason to play in an environment that burns physical energy. There are interactive games that teach them how to balance and cooperate, they must use teamwork to claim victory in challenges and concentrate on their coordination. There is even something that shows how many calories they are burning," says Urban. As well as fostering a sense of community between the residents of Springfeld Lakes, the revolutionary playgrounds have proven to be happy hubs at Royal Melbourne’s Children’s Hospital, Plough and Harrow Park, in Western Sydney Parklands and Caboolture Town Square. ••• We can't ght the digital revolution. We need to embrace it. CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Visit http://goo. gl/ZxBqri to comment on this article.
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