Network urges creativity in play

Landscape architects, local authorities and play-equipment manufacturers need to think creatively to design more challenging child-friendly public space, according to a children's play network.

The practicalities of delivering better play areas - on a budget or in small spaces - are to be explored in a design workshop being held by Free Play Network today (Friday).

Free Play Network director Nicola Butler said the aim is to encourage risk and experimentation in play.

"We need to challenge the assumption we've got to have a swing and a roundabout," said Butler. "It is about taking a more creative, child-focused approach that might include more natural play elements because at the moment there isn't much out there."

The workshop, which is to be repeated on 21 November, includes visits to Wyvis Street Play Space and Langdon Park, both in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The use of sand, water and natural features and inclusive play provision will be covered.

Landscape architect Aileen Shackell, who designed the £50,000 Wyvis Street Play Space, and Middlesex University's professor of risk management David Ball are speakers at the workshop.

"Wyvis Street Play Space was an area that faced problems of anti-social behaviour and dogs, which is why we chose it," added Butler.

- To book a place at the November workshop visit

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