Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Swappable Park:Enhancing Public Spaces to Meet the Recreation Needs of Everyone in our Community

 A while back I was visiting Union Square Park, I talked to a young skateboard enthusiast  there  who  told me,” there's benches for the old people and a playground for the little kids but nothing for us

When it comes to Active Recreation "Nothing for Us" is the norm not the exception" in our area parks.

-A park with stationary benches  can at least be used by most everyone as a place to sit outdoors.

-A park with stationary active recreation equipment such as basketball hoops or a volleyball court cannot.
-Unless you're interested in  basketball or volleyball , that park offers you no active recreation possibilities.
-So our parks essentially do not meet the active recreation needs of the majority of the people in their communities.

The Swappable Park

-What if instead of just  installing   fixed active recreation  equipment in a park  you also  installed  a fixed storage shed
A Storage Shed for a swappable park $4,000

and you filled it with movable active recreation equipment and other equipment that can be easily moved in and out of the park.
ping pong tables under $1,000

foosball tables $750

 product image
nok hockey tables $25

Ladder Toss $150
pool tables $150
corn hole   $100  link 

Kettler Large Chess Game Board
Giant Chess Set $200

 Spinner FIT Exercise Bike
 Exercise Bike  $500

 Uni Cart
 The Uni a moveable Outdoor Reading Room  $4,000  link
(also chairs and tables)

 -Newspapers and Magazines

Imagination Playground  $10,000




You take the equipment out in the morning and put away at night

-Additionally you put a little man in the equipment storage shed who loan out smaller types of  active recreation equipment on demand


A cabinet holding Active and Activities Recreation Equipment

horse shoes

 Weighted Hula Hoop Calories Burned

hula hoops  link

Board games

 Jump Rope Fitness

jump ropes  link

ttsteel tummy trimmer lite portable unbreakable
The Freestyler: Review
Exercise equipment
Rummey Q

lego sets

You can now, in even  a small space meet a far larger set of  the community's active and activities recreation needs then a space with only fixed equipment

 It's what I call a Swappable Park

Such a park already exists in Manhattan's Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City.

Rockefeller Park Swappable Park
Ping Pong and Nok Hockey Tables,Park House Storage Shed  in rear
Every day the staff at Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City takes their recreation equipment from their Park House and swaps it on the Rockefeller Park Plaza

Dream Center Swappable Park

Every week on Thursday and Saturday, for a few hours, the NY Dreamcenter folks swap in play equipment at the Elliott Chelsea Houses. Equipment is store in an on site storage facility when not in use.

You don't need expensive recreation equipment to meet Active recreation needs

Simple playthings such as balls, jump ropes, hula hoops and riding toys, do more for encouraging physical activity than swings, jungle gyms and other “stationary” or “fixed” playground equipment, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The findings are important because they show that schools and day-care centers don’t need expensive playground equipment to keep kids active. link

   Low Cost Swappable Parks for Key Access Open Spaces

Having staff  and a large open space allows for large objects to be swapped in an out of an open space. But a swappable park can also be instituted in a smaller space.

A while back we were in the Lotus Community Garden and we saw that 2 people had brought a Scrabble set and were playing  on a table in the garden.

The limitations of the Lotus Garden is you have to bring your own equipment.

By adding one or more  small outdoors Recreation Equipment cabinets even the smallest keyed space can  offer all sorts of activities recreation, just like they do in Bryant Park.

A storage shed in a community garden(above)  can be filled with activities equipment just like this cabinet in Rockefeller Park (below)

You don't need to be a millionaire Bryant Park (above) to offer an outdoor reading room at we did at  NYCHA's Elliott Chelsea Houses  (below)


-Fixed equipment parks are simply not able to meet the recreation needs of all age groups.

- By adding dynamic swapping of equipment on demand, these same parks can be transformed to meet the recreation needs of all age groups

-And adding equipment and a storage shed to existing parks can done for thousands, not millions of dollars. 

Q: Why supply equipment? Why can't people bring their own? 

A: Good Question 

-Money:Not everyone can afford to buy their own equipment

-Convenience: Even for those that can, you still have to schlep the equipmet to the park. 

"We want to make sure that we have enough variety in the park so that people don't need to leave in the middle of their activity to grab something to eat or drink," a Trust spokeswoman said Wednesday. "This is about making the Hudson River Park experience even better for our visitors."  link

HRP offers food to make the park going experience better, so you don't have to leave the park to get food/drink. Offering a variety of active recreation  equipment would make our public spaces experience better too. But look at these map...

There is food offered in these 16 public spaces(r). Plus hundreds more food offerings in the area. There is only one site offer AR equioment in the area(l).

Swappable Parks
The Obesity Crisis and Midtown Manhattans Lack of Active Recreation
Swappable Park Possible Locations Worth Square and Baruch Plaza
Staffing the Swappable Park
Swappable Park Equipment Catalog
Student Center Game Rooms 

Transforming Chelsea into Park Chelsea, Chelsea's Age Friendly Park that's also a park for all ages