Thursday, July 17, 2014

Parks vs Playgrounds-A Historical Prospective

Parks vs Playgrounds

In wondering why many parks do not offer active recreation, we found a possible explanation.
While playgrounds are standard features at many parks today, the parks and playgrounds movements were actually separate movements.
Historically parks were places of passive recreation, you went to a park to view nature and perhaps listen to music . Link page 28
Playgrounds developed separately. The playgrounds movement advocated active recreation. The two movements parks and playgrounds were not always on the same page...
...its spokesmen increasingly criticized park administrators for their emphasis on preserving natural landscapes, even when it meant severe restrictions on park use, especially by children. One playground leader said that parks were appropriately called urban “breathing spaces” because “breathing was about all one was permitted to do in them” (Boyer, pp. 244-245).  . (page 30 link)
In looking at the activities (or lack of them) offered by some of our parks, it seems that the schism between the two movements still exists.