You may or may not have noticed, through articles by Public Workshop (here) or via a steady rise in media attention, but playgrounds for the elderly are on the rise. This innovation started in Asia, particularly China, Japan and Singapore but thereafter spread to Spain, Germany and England. Some countries such as Germany are taking this idea one step farther by creating multi-generational playgrounds, recognizing that younger children and the elderly have similar coordination, agility and social needs. Mercifully people are beginning to realize that breaking society up into neat little chunks, with the children ‘over here’ and the elderly ‘over there’……..might not be the best idea. Likewise, attitudes about play and exercise, and where and how it happens are in some places slowly changing for the better.
However, as innovative and to some extent, cheeky, as some of these playgrounds might be, this artist-designed playground in the Kassel neighborhood of Berlin takes it to a whole new level. Intended to be a commentary on a predominance of city policies that focus primarily on making the city livable for the elderly, the sign reads:
‘children are responsible for their parents’.
Needless to say, Public Workshop loves this, regardless of it quite frankly being a rather disturbing playground. Despite having zero reluctance towards thoroughly testing out any conceivable type of play device, we feel a certain degree of hesitancy about hopping on these and taking them for a test ride.
What do you think? We’re curious and would love to hear your thoughts.
No reports as of yet on the response of the neighborhood’s elderly to the cheeky play devices. We can, however, report that throughout Berlin the use of play structures, aside from in very child-specific places such as the Kolle 37 Adventure Playground (here), is not limited by age. While conducting research in Berlin this summer, Public Workshop routinely saw play devices such as the following see-saw trampoline, balance beam merry-go-round (it spins) or ginormous slide being used by people of all ages.
Public Workshop would like to send a tremendous,hearty thank you to the ever fantastic Tobias Kurtz and Ragna Korby. These guys are a dynamic architect-planner duo from Berlin (also of the Action Painting Club), who shared this project with us and are also doing some pretty amazing work engaging children re-designing their neighborhoods through Tobias’ Stadtsafari project (here). Hopefully Tobias will share the details of the Stadtsafari in the near future. In the meantime, thanks guys, you rock.