Friday, October 21, 2016

City Officials Dedicate Newly Renovated Wister Playground in Germantown

City Officials Dedicate Newly Renovated Wister Playground in Germantown

For Immediate Release: August 09, 2016
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Jennifer Crandall, (215) 683-3586,
Philadelphia – Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell, Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate recent improvements to Wister Playground in the Germantown section this morning.
“The renovations here at Wister have truly brought this park and this neighborhood to life,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “I’m so glad that we were able to provide the residents and visitors of Germantown the high-quality park they deserve.”
The improvements to Wister playground include new fencing, play structures, site furniture, spray equipment and safety surfacing. It will also  serve more people as an inclusive playground, thanks to the incorporation of an ADA-compliant swing.
“I remember what the old Wister looked like,” said Councilwoman Bass. “Now we see what’s here, and I’m just so proud to have been a part of it. We know that we couldn’t have gotten this work done without both Mural Arts and Parks and Recreation.”
The renovations included a mural designed by artist Willis Humphrey with mosaic work by Jonny Buss. The mural was completed by the Guild Program, a program for inmates that provides employment and job training, based on Restorative Justice principles of giving back to the community while learning new skills, funded by the Philadelphia Prison System.
“We are always delighted to partner with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department,” said Golden. “Working at Wister Recreation Center has been a wonderful experience; not only have we brought art and beauty to a recreation center, but the people doing the work—members of our Guild re-entry program—have been profoundly changed by the work as well.”
In addition to reviving the outdated play and spray area with state of the art equipment, Wister Playground also received new lighting at the existing football field and enlarged and resurfaced basketball courts.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Make NYC Your Gym version 2

Several years ago, the NYC Health Department received a grant to run a program called  Make NYC Your Gym

I thought it was a great idea, unfortunately it was a limited time campaign and had  a Limited time effect.

What I'd like to see is a make NYC Your Gym, version 2. Only this time I'd like to see it

-be persistant
using permant media instead of short term media

-be neighborhood  local
-rather then Make NYC Your Gym it would be
make Chelsea Your Gym
make Flatbush Your Gym


Be used as a way to coordinate NYC's various public recreation offerings

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Staffing for Parks

The branch library near me is a community space that is staffed and have onsite staff that  offers planned staffed program activities. The city  parks near mee are community spaces that are all unstaffed and have people in charge of maintence but no one to do recreation programming.

You don't need full time staff to get programs going in a park.  Party timers will work just as well.

Friday, September 16, 2016

designing user friendly spaces for mixed reality interactions

Mixed reality friendly spaces are I suspect based on what kinds of mined reality apps you want to make a space optimum for

Magical park and Sharks in the park are smartphone  GPS based MR apps meant for running around
-they work well with a open space outdoors
-they would not work well in your house
-they would not work well in any enclosed space (needs GPS)

In a crowded urban park can kids run around anywhere or should parks  designate MR running around areas

Microsoft Hololens images  have issues in direct sunlight the holograms become translucent In shade the author of this video says they work well.

kids can skateboard on a flat surface, but adding ramps and other features makes skateboarding far more interesting. MR can be done in an barren open space, but I would think by adding physical reality  objects to the space it can become more interesting.

Tzuum is a form of Laser tag. You can play it with just your smartphone, but addiong this makes it mioe interesting.

-Some MR apps call for comfortable  social seating and a table. ( just providing a table and seats will not work for everyone. I live down the block from a park with a chess table and ergonomically terrible seating. It may be social seating around a table but this park feature is useless for me.

-Some MR apps needs wifi, parks supplying WIFI  makes  these parks more digital friendly

 -MR needs hardware this may be...
- a smartphone
-in some cases a smartphione with special hardware such as a gyroscope 
- dedicated MR headset

Not everyone will have these, parks departments can make them available.

This post is not meant to solve all the issues, it's just meant to let park designers know there are issues. 

see also this doocument on designing spaces for mixed reality interactions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Curated Mixed Ability Inclusive Activities

A colleague of mine who produces mixed ability recreation equipment(Bankshot)  produced a video where he talked  about this picture

Is it inclusion kinda. is it inclusion of equals no. The neurotypical kids are running, and the person using the wheelchair is included by blowing the whistle.

 Mixed ability inclusive play  are those activities where people with special needs and neurotypical people play together as equals.

Bankshot is a  non competitive  mixed ability basketball  where players are equals


Mixed ability dance is another one of these activities

  NYC parks does  not offer much in the form of recreation activities led by professional staff. So play situations are generally peer play.

In a play situation that is peer organized special needs folks are often marganilized.

Where funds are available by having staffed activities oriented for special needs folks that neurotypical folks are invited to join

 -Special needs folks will get leadership recreation

-neurotypical kids will get leadership let recreation, which they are not getting currently

-it is far less liklety that neurotypical kids will unwittingily  act not properly to  them, as has occurred at sonme inclusive playgrounds

-(Shanes Inspiration story)

-Everybody will get  leadership led recreation  in locations where in the past nobody got leadership led recreation.

-Everybody will start making neighborhood  friendships