by Joana Montalvo CERES Playspace Communications volunteer
CERES is a place where people come together to share and enact ideas about living well together. We believe a vital part of living and learning well together is the opportunity for creative expression and play.
Since late last year we have been going through a proactive and meaningful community consultation process to develop a unique design concept and transform the area of the existing playspace into an adventure habitat, an evolving landscape for imagination, an area for creative play and a gathering space for parents, kids, playgroups and anyone who loves being lost in their imagination.
The project concept is inspired by imagining the whole playspace is one handful of soil scaled up 500 times.
We are drawing inspiration from patterns and systems found in nature. We hope to offer a rich sensory experience of literal and abstract forms such as a giant Millipede for climbing and exploring. Also some tunnels and slides that not only challenge and delight but may also generate some form of movement and energy.
Our aim is to give kids and adults the impression they have been shrunk to the size of an ant and what it is like being surrounded by massive mechanical bugs, sticks (logs), pebbles (rocks), worms etc. What you might see in a handful of soil.
A range of community groups and individuals have been engaged in the development of an array images and writing.
A steering committee was formed based on a set of skills CERES needed to navigate our way through the myriad of issues and opportunities created in children’s playspaces. This broad cross section of backgrounds and expertise allowed deeper collaboration and design development of the CERES adventure park. Skills we needed included landscape architecture, playground design specialists, industrial design, artistic, theatrical play activation, fund raising and a long term connection and understanding of CERES values.
We have also undertaken other forms of consultation including:
- An online survey with 198 responses
- Face to face interviews at CERES Harvest Festival in March
- Design sessions with school groups and with a group of children who have grown up at CERES
- Nature Play week Vision Board which was photographed each day
- CERES staff and board members who play a vital role in providing feedback during the consultation and project design process.
We are currently reviewing designs with playground assessors looking at the concepts and how to create risk but ensure this risk is quantifiable and limited.