Jester Park Natural Playscape: An International Case Study

Published in the May 2012 issue of China’s professional landscape architecture magazine, the Jester Park Natural Playscape is proving to be an international innovation in reintroducing children, families, and others to the great outdoors. This article reviews the increasing distance between the public and the great outdoors. The implications of that disconnection for individual, social, cultural, and natural resources and the introduction of Natural Playscapes as a valuable tool for reengaging children, parents, and a larger public in their natural world.

The article was written by Mike Bell, PLA; Pat Boddy, P.E.; and Scott Crawford, PLA and features well-researched information on the benefits to childhood health and development through playscapes, as well as a compelling interview with Polk County Conservation Naturalist Lew Major. Major’s vision brought about the initial playscape project development, enhanced through the planning and design work of RDG professionals.
Some specific design challenges, particularly those related to risk/safety, topography, and storm water management, are addressed, as well as highlights of results from a comparative study of the Jester Park playscape to a neighboring traditional playground.
Testimony of Polk County Naturalist Lew Major further demonstrates the dynamic impacts of the playscape on the public and the playscape’s surroundings.
For the complete article: 2012-05-18 – LA China – FINAL Natural Playscapes article.pdf

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