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Playscapes of Germany - A Quick Tour

by Rusty Keeler
September/October 2006
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/playscapes-of-germany--a-quick-tour/5017174/

While playgrounds in many parts of the world are limited to "fixed" equipment and surfacing, certain progressive countries have made a point to rise above this dull standard and create playscapes filled with sculpture, gardens, and wild elements of the natural world. Germany is a leader in the world of natural playscapes. As a part of ongoing research for my playscape design business, this past summer I traveled to Berlin, Germany with a group of international designers and educators to tour a variety of Berlin's natural playscapes, adventure playgrounds, and urban children's farms. The tour was arranged by Norwegian playscape designer Frode Svane (visit his web site for amazing images and ideas: http://home.c2i.net/swan/) and led by various Berlin landscape designers, government officials, artists, and play leaders.

Through conscious commitment and planning, the Germans have transformed the way they think about and build outdoor environments for children. Berlin playscape pioneer Hartmut Meyer-Buck described how in the 1950s and '60s German playgrounds were basically exercise equipment and surfacing. "These yards made the adults happy," Meyer-Buck explains, "but the children began asking why there were no trees in their play yards." Finally in the '70s, educators, designers, and even governmental officials began asking the same ...

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