Democratizing Play: Calgary Announces 10 New Inclusive Parks for 2021

Democratizing Play: Calgary Announces 10 New Inclusive Parks for 2021

The City of Calgary announced that they're building 10 new inclusive parks for 2021. Park N Play Design is delighted to see the City of Calgary democratizing play. Park N Play Design and our inclusive design specialists worked hard to design 6 out of 10 of the new parks: Elliston Park, Hidden Valley Park, North Glenmore Park, Sandy Beach Park, Edworthy Park, and Somerset Square Park. As we get closer to completion of the installation, you can find links to each of the parks in our "Projects" section.

Edworthy Park Rendering
Elliston Park Rendering
Hidden Valley Park Rendering
North Glenmore Park Rendering
Sandy Beach Park Rendering
Summerset Park Rendering

All 10 of the parks were designed according to universal design principles to make play accessible for everyone.

  1. Equitable use: Visitors of all abilities will be able to play at this playground.  There are swings for children and adults of all abilities and slides that are easily accessible by ramps.
  2. Flexibility in use: This design accommodates a wide range of individual abilities.  There are activities for the most active children, and enclosed areas for quiet and creative play.
  3. Simple and intuitive use: Playground designs provide challenges that are also simple to understand.  Each activity includes visual cues signaling when it is time to climb, hang, or swing.  There are also braille signs for the vision impaired.
  4. Perceptible information: Necessary information is communicated to users of all abilities.  There is standard safety signage throughout the playgrounds, and custom braille directional signs ensuring everyone can use this equipment safely.  There are communication boards to help non-verbal children or those with hearing impairments communicate with their friends and family.
  5. Tolerance for error: Equipment is built to the highest safety standards and has been laid out to avoid any danger spots. The swings are well separated from the rest of the equipment and no moving events are placed in traffic areas.
  6. Low physical effort: Playgrounds can be used with a minimum of physical effort required.  There are activities for everyone regardless of their physical strength or abilities.
  7. Size and space for approach and use: Equipment is easy to approach and use. The playgrounds include accessible half-panels that allow wheelchair users to move directly under the panel for easier manipulation. All components are spaced to ensure accessibility for a wide variety of users.  

There's a common misconception when it comes to inclusive parks: that they remove any chance of children experiencing "risky, free play". This is simply not true. While these parks and playgrounds adhere to the above design principles, that does not necessarily mean that the rest of the park doesn't provide opportunities for children to enjoy the type of playing we experienced as children.

“Well-designed, free public spaces in the communities make a city come alive, reduce crime and contribute to a better quality of life for all citizens,” states the City of Calgary website. “Playgrounds are one of those spaces where children can come together and learn from each other.”

Here at Park N Play Design, we know that our communities are full of diversity. We believe that the parks and playgrounds serving those communities should accommodate and respect that diversity. We believe inclusion doesn’t just create better play spaces, it creates a better world.  A world where we all have the opportunity to learn and grow through play. And through creating an inclusive place to play together, we create dynamic, hands-on experiences for all-ages and abilities to explore, learn and connect. Together.

Check out all 10 of the inclusive parks at the list below:

See you at the park!

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