If you want to construct a reasonably priced, long-lasting, and well-functioning playground, you should look for answers for the following questions.
DETERMINATION OF REQIREMENTS
Is the population/user structure of the surrounding area (i.e. the area from which users of the playground can be expected to come) known?
· total numbers of inhabitants
· total numbers of households
· small children up to 5 years old
· children from 5 to 10 years old
· children from 10 to 15 years old
· children from 15 to 20 years old
· pensioners/senior citizens
· total housing-space
· housing-space per inhabitant in m2
How has the total population, the number of children, pensioners, and unemployed increased or decreased in the last 10 years?
What were the decisive causes? Changes in the future? Because of what? (new housing, establishment/closure of industries)
What is the predominant social status of the population?
· social problem-cases
· foreigners with low income
· poor, young families
· well to do, young families
· evolved, "normal" population structure
· wealthy, expensive residential area
What is the surrounding area like?
· small town
· new housing estate
· satellite town
· area on the outskirts of a large city
· well built, older inner-city area
· poor inner-city
· mixed area
· industrial area
How has the structure changed in the last ten years
· over-proportional growth
· normal growth
· declining? Why?
· changes in the future? Why?
What is the predominant development pattern of the surrounding
· villas/luxury bungalows
· luxurious, multi-family houses/apartment blocks
· small row houses
· multi-family houses
· concrete housing blocks
· tenement houses
· evolved, older inner-city area
· slum/area under redevelopment
Which economic, cultural and social facilities are there in the surrounding area?
corner shop - retail shop - department stores – markets
- shopping centre - pedestrian walk - cinemas - theatre - neighbourhood
pubs - chip stands - ice cream parlours - kiosks - garden/sidewalk cafes
- bars -chemists - hospitals - kindergartens - homes/schools for the handicapped
- old peoples homes.
Are there other recreational facilities or opportunities?
large nature reserves - woods - park - unrestricted grassy
areas - playable streets/paths - sports centres which are open to the public
stadiums - gymnasiums - sport clubs - swimming pool - private playgrounds
- children's farm - children's zoo- wasteland - gravel pits - slag heaps
- mounds of dumped earth quarries - ponds - stream-junkyard - ruins - old
EVALUTING THE PLAYGROUND AND THE LOCATION
· How big is the playground?
· What is the property situation like?
· What is the usufruct? The period of time it is available for use.
· Are there any conditions?
· Is the playground or the immediate neighbours hidden from view and protected from noise?
· Are there alternative playgrounds?
· Are there additional available open areas?
· adjacent, separated or not usable?
What is the type of playground and the type of surface?
pavement - asphalt surface - level grass - grassy hill
- a slope - wasteland - sand/gravel - large rocks - piece of debris/ruins
- marshland - a site with ponds or streams.
Are the features of the site (slopes, hills, rocks, stream etc.) exploitable?
Is it possible to make general, large-scale alterations to the site?
Are there features of the site which cannot be altered?
Are there dangerous situations on the site, which must be made safe?
· What is the planting of the playground like?
· Are there large bushes/trees?
· Is there rank (wild) growth, which can be left as it is?
· Are there poisonous, unutilizable plants which should be removed?
· Do the grass, bushes, trees (solitary) or large bushes have to be newly planted?
· When and how long is the planting time?
· How long is required for the plants to take roots?
· Must the site remain closed during this time?
What is the traffic accessibility of the playground like?
· How close is the playground to the user-group?
· Are there any safe footpaths to the playground?
· Are there footpaths known to the users (like those to kindergarten, school, shopping)?
· Are there barriers separating the user-group from the playground, such as streets with heavy traffic (e.g. city motorway) railway lines, canals, ricers, industrial areas.
· What kind of safety precautions are there? Which should be installed, such as fences, walls, stairs, bridges, warning/traffic lights, traffic signs, separate footpaths?
What and how many traffic accidents involving children
have there been in the surrounding area in in the past few years?
At the direct entrance to the playground?
In the immediate area around the playground?
What sort of problems are there nearby the playground?
Gangs - rochers - drug scene - crime - areas of prostitution entertainment area - station - fighting - destruction of property - vandalism – tramps.
Are there power plants - chemical plants - garbage incineration plants - companies working with heavy metals?
Other factories with smoke/gas/dust emissions, chemical artificial fertilizers of ammunition dumps near the playground?
Is it at all advisable to play in the open in this area?
Has the ground been checked for harmful substances?
What was previously on the site of the playground? In
Are the needs and the users known? Are there any documents. Reports of previous playground or attempts to set up playgrounds, statistics?
Are the playground and the surrounding area known? Are there documents, plans drawings concerning them?
How long is the planning phase?
When should the playground be ready for use?
For how long will the planned mode of use be necessary or useful?
Lifespan of the playground?
Is it a question of new planning - supplemention – enlargement
- modification -
Who is planning it? Building authorities. parks department.
department. private building contractors. citizens' initiative charitable
Is the planner landscape-. garden-. city-, structural-, civil architect/engineer, designer?
Is the planner of the playground competent?
Does he have experience reference playgrounds, knowledge
of the standards and
Should an institution specialized in the field be consulted?
Will the planner follow the further development of the playground after the planning phase ( addition/replacement of equipment, changing of equipment, maintenance operation).
Is the planner's fee dependent on the volume of construction, the volume of playground equipment, working time, or is it a lump sum?
Has a survey of the immediate neighbours been carried out?
Do they have a positive or negative attitude towards the project?
Can their attitudes be positively influenced?
Could the immediate neighbours have a positive/negative influence in the planning?
Are political or tactical considerations required or are influences of this sort to be feared?
Is the playground intended to be only for a particular user-group (small children, school children, youths, handicapped, retired people)?
Are there accessible alternatives for potential users who have not been taken into consideration?
Is there a particular play theme or type of play planned for the playground? Is the playground suited for that?
Who suggested this use? Are alternatives to that admissible/useful?
Are other playgrounds / recreation areas / green areas included in the planning?
Given the location, size, number of users and type of
playground, is it sensible
to carry out the plan.
Are bad compromises to be feared already in advance? Are there any alternatives?
Have doubts about the concept's being right arisen during the planning itself?
Can they still be considered, prevented, improved? Have
alternatives been investigated?
Are there sensory and play-behaviour deficiencies for children in the surrounding area?
Is there a lack of natural play and recreational possibilities?
Are there sociological / psychological/therapeutic problems which can be compensated for trough appropriate play possibilities?
Does the user group or the immediate neighbours have any wishes or expectations?
Do the financial sponsors, the licensing authorities or the operators have any wishes or regulations?
Is there a pedagogical, sociological therapeutic or general play concept?
Would it be useful to work one out?
Is the situation of the playground or the user-group suited for a special play concept (such as water-adventure, building-playground, moped track, a playground for young teens, a children's zoo)?
Are there utilizable natural play, possibilities (like a stream, pond, large rocks, boulders, hills, valleys, bushes, trees, gravel pits) already present on the playground?
Could natural or natural-like possibilities be constructed?
Is it possible to have play-possibilities without playground equipment through the laying out of playground, the laying out of paths, the ground covering?
Is there any already existing playground equipment?
Is it usable? Is it safe? Does it have to be repaired?
Does it have to be removed?
What playground equipment is absolutely necessary?
What playground equipment is absolutely desired?
What equipment is apart from that?
What playground can be used as an alternative?
What playground equipment should in no case be used? For what reasons?
Are the people who have formulated requirements competent?
Can the play possibilities be matched to changes in users requirements which may occur over time?
Have enlargement, changes, scaling downs, expansion, alternatives already been foreseen?
Is it useful to construct a spacially divided, graded offering of playing possibilities?
Is it useful to consider a temporary step by step plan for the installation of various play offerings?
Have all possibilities been considered?
How big is the budget?
New construction budget from works department?
After-care/Maintenance budget from works department?
After care (Maintenance bugdet from works department?
Is the bugdet spread over several years?
Are there any supplementary budgets from the Youth Dept./Dept of Social Welfare?
Are there any extra bugdets for construction, assembly…?
Are there any supplementary budget from the district,
state national government?
Is the budget to be apportioned to the immediate neighbours?
Is the budget part of the development costs?
Is the bugdet to be borne by private building contractors?
Can the supplementary bugdet be got from a church-based charitable foundation?
Is there an election in sight? Supplementary bugdet as a pre-election promise?
Cutting costs by a construction firm building the playground as a donation?
How high are the costs per inhabitant of the surrounding area from which users of the playground area are expected to come?
When the commission is awarded by tender according to standard administrative producers, is it guaranteed that only things which are really comparable will be compared (i.e. the same quality)?
That not a copy of inferior quality gets the award?
Will discounts be granted? How do these come into
being? Have the actual prices been compared with what
is actually to be delivered (i.e. which components are actually included in the
price), with the quality, and with the strength of the materials.
Will the supplier install the playground equipment themselves?
Will the landscaping firm which sets up the playground install the equipment itself?
Is the firm entrusted with the assembly and installation familiar with the equipment?
Does it know how, where will be constructed/erected?
Has the firm installing the equipment got any experience in playground planning/construction/ maintenance?
Does the firm know the regulations and standards?
Also for special equipment?
Have safety zones and measures to provide fall-protection been observed?
Who checks that the installation of the equipment fulfils the regulations/standards? Is this person competent?
Does the delivery date match the installation date? Is it better to install all of the equipment at once or to install it gradually over a period of time?
Is the opening date of the playground fixed/known? Can the date be met?
Has it been ensured that no parts of the delivered equipment have disappeared up to the time of installation?
Has it been ensured that during the installation no incalculable dangers for children arise?
Should/ could the building site be closed/closed off?
Will plants/green areas/paths/ground covering be destroyed by installation work?
Should the equipment be installed before planting?
Will the playground be closed/usable, but with care until the plants take root?
In the case of recourse, is it sure which burden/debts will fall on the installer/manufacturer?
Is the firm charged with the installation able to make desired changes, alterations, additions/replacement?
Can the planner/user/operator of the playground make any
necessary or desirable changes, alterations, replacements which first become
evident on the spot?
Who looks after the playground? Caretaker, property management, parks administration, planning department, private maintenance firm?
Are there after-care/maintenance regulations? Is the maintenance crew familiar with them?
Is a book/record/checklist kept for after-care maintenance/repair?
Is the maintenance carried out when required or in fixed intervals?
Are the after-care/maintenance intervals in conformity with the degree of use?
Who checks the maintenance work?
When there is serious wear and tear/vandalism/breakage are the causes investigated? And when they are known?
Is the manufacturer/planner/operator informed?
When there is regularly occurring trouble is an attempt made to prevent these problems by reorganisation, replacement of equipment, expansion?
When there is sudden pollution through chemical fumes, poison gas clouds (artificial fertilizer-, plastic-, PVC-, old oil, fires) contamination of ground water, radioactive fall-out, which agency competent for assessment of danger and the closure of the playground?
Have the care and maintenance costs already been considered during the planning/equipping of the playground?
Is the equipment easy to look after and maintain?
Does after-care and maintenance work hinder the user during play?
Can this be prevented by co-ordinating the time maintenance
is carried out.
SUPPLEMENTING, RELOCATION, EXPANSION OF PLAYGROUNDS
Is the playground being supplemented/relocated/ expanded
on the basis of a user/needs analysis, the wish of the users/immediate
neighbours, a citizens initiative, city planning/redevelopment work, a
Have the alterations been systematically planned?
Was it taken into consideration during the original planning/equipping
change in requirements/users could occur?
Why is the playground being supplemented/enlarged?
Because there have been budget increase or/and additional sources of funds have emerged?
Because additional space has become available?
Because additional users have moved into the area or unplanned - for users turned up? Or because other recreation space has been eliminated?
Why is the playground being relocated? Because the playground/area is unsuitable, dangerous, too expensive, difficult to reach?
Can existing play areas/playground equipment be set up?
Should additional play areas/playground equipment be set up?
Do existing play areas/playground equipment have to be reorganized, altered, relocated?
Will there be alternative play areas during the time the
alterations are made?
DISMANTLING AND CLOSING THE PLAYGROUNDS
Has the playground become superfluous because the wishes of the users have changed or the user group has changed (children have grown out of the playing age; no new ones have taken their place)?
Is the playground superfluous because of faulty planning or because users' interest, the situation of the playground, or the immediate neighbours have not been taken notice of?
Is the playground being dismantled because the usufruct for the playground has expired?
Because the playground is to be used for another purpose?
Because the playground must make way for a building project which has priority?
Is the playground being dismantled:
Because it was not used?
Because it was always vandalized? What were the causes and by what means does one hope to solve these problems into the future?
Is this playground being closed because the area
has been contaminated by environmental influences (the playground may not be used any more)?
Is the playground being closed because of a court order.
By order of authorities? Influence of the immediate neighbours, the users, the operators been heard?
Can they have any influence?
How is the playground to be used in future? Is it possible to reactivate it if need be?
Are substitute play possibilities being offered in an accessible area.
Will the playground be converted in such a way that no ruins, dump, slums are created?
Will the remains/foundations of equipment be removed in such a way that no sources of danger will be created?
Will the immediate neighbours/users be informed before
hand what and why this is
happening to their playground?
Will their be a transition phase with reduced play possibilities
playground to settle into already.
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