The Politics of Play

Rethinking recreational spaces to better serve citiesand children

The playground is the McDonald’s of landscape design. Travel to any city in many parts of the world and the presentation is identical: a flat surface topped by one or two standardized all-in-one activity structures. The Memorial Park playground, which opened this August in Wilsonville, Oregon, points in a different direction. Located in a 17-acre park, the site features a large grassy mound encircled by a series of discrete elements. There is a six-foot-tall red rubber dome, concentric circles of rocks, a small waterfall, and two curved climbing walls with holes in their centers.

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