Access For All Playground Design Considerations
Playgrounds that provide play opportunities for people with diverse needs are extremely valuable assets for all members of our communities.
Often referred to as “inclusive” or “equal access” playgrounds, the key to a successful Access-For-All Playground is providing play opportunities in an environment that caters for the varied and diverse needs of all members of our community. This extends far beyond those with limited mobility and a good Access-For-All Playground should include elements that engage the senses, encourage social interaction, and welcome people of all ages and abilities.
With this in mind it is important to take an holistic approach when designing an Access-For-All Playground. The space, the surrounds, the gradients, the natural features, and the built environments all form part of the experience and should be looked at as to how they can add positively to the experience as opposed to being barriers to the users of the playground. Good design and planning, along with consultation with the key stakeholders to thoroughly understand the objective of the playground is crucial.
Play equipment is just one part of an Access-For-All Playground but nonetheless it is an important part. Well designed and constructed equipment gives users and operators confidence. Equipment should be designed and or selected that offer play opportunities to a wide range of abilities and items that have multiple functions are favourable – e.g. a bridge may be required primarily for access within the playground, however, by adding something as simple as a textured surface to the bridge it can add a sensory element. This can be extended to a rhythmic experience for wheeled items such as pushers or wheelchairs if the texture is patterned with raised “ribs” or if a musical item such as embedded chimes or bells are added.
The designers at Safe Play Systems have over 70 years of combined playground design experience and know how to turn ideas into reality. They are experienced in the selection of appropriate play equipment items and have the skills to realise the most cost-effective use of space and budget.
When undertaking an Access for All Playground design project, our designers will consider:
• Available area, natural features, contours, gradients
• The specific needs of known and or anticipated user groups
• Budget – with consideration towards equipment and associated works
• Access requirements – to and from the playground as well as within the space
• Age groups of intended users and carers
• Graduated levels of challenge within play elements
• Non-prescriptive play opportunities
• Safety Under-surfacing requirements
• Surfacing requirements – general access pathways, accessible sections of safety surfacing, etc.
• Australian Standards
• Public amenities
• Proximity of other Access-For-All Playgrounds