Future Playgrounds AddACTIVE | 2004-2005

PROJECT BRIEF

When: 2004-2005 (finalized)

What: Based on theme of Future Playgrounds, the main interest was captured in the words active, creative and development, while the team’s mission statement was “to construct something that will encourage children to be active and creative in a developing environment”.

Who: Student team at Luleå University of Technology, Stanford University ME310 class.

Documentation:

PROJECT SUMMARY

At the beginning of September 2004 a group of students began this year’s project called Design for Wellbeing, based on the theme of Future Playgrounds. The main interest was captured in the words active, creative and development, while the team’s mission statement was “to construct something that will encourage children to be active and creative in a developing environment”. The name of the Team became AddACTIVE.

As society evolves through technological advances so do children. The integration of technology has led to a less active population and a changed social interaction. Children in Sweden spend 10 000 hours of their youth watching TV, equivalent to their time spent in grade school. Culture, lifestyle and eating habits have rendered obesity a serious problem in the USA, which has also begun in Scandinavia. We live in a part of the world where people are shortening their life expectancy by their eating. Through adequate physical activity, you can create a longer and healthier life.

The path began with the mission to investigate how the meeting place of the future might be designed to promote physical activity and social interaction in a safe and creative environment. Since this approach is extremely broad, the needs analysis and benchmarking phases of this project were extensive. These phases included several brainstorming sessions, interviews with children, teachers and architects, as well as numerous playground visits in Sweden, Argentina and the USA. In January, AddACTIVE went to the USA to get inspiration and had the opportunity to conduct several brainstorming sessions with both students at Stanford University and people with the knowledge and skills in creative product development. The gathering of information allowed the choosing of a narrower, more focused path, leading AddACTIVE to create a module playground.

Active play develops the physical attributes and social and cognitive development of children. Children need change to be active; hence, the construction of a module ground system. The system makes it possible to change the playground in terms of size and the combinations of features. Consisting of a ground plate, surface tile, poles and mountings, together these make a unit. The size of the playground depends on how many units you choose to combine.

A well-designed playground provides wide-ranging opportunities for exercising balance, strength and body control. It also develops the child’s learning capabilities and provides a preparatory forum for school life. The playground is constructed for outdoor use since daylight and fresh air are ingredients in a long and healthy life.