The Evolution of North American Playgrounds From 1900 to the Present and Beyond

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Prior to 1900, there were virtually no playgrounds in North America. As population moved from farms to cities, playgrounds were seen as a way to keep children busy and out of trouble. Since then, both the art and practice of playground design have expanded to include safety, accessibility, and inclusivity, and to encompass and foster child development. Playgrounds have helped earn points for LEED and other certifications, and equipment manufacturers have adopted sustainability programs. This course looks at the architect’s and landscape architect’s roles in the past, present, and future of playground design and specification.

Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Accessibility / ADA
Business Practices / Contracts / HR
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
1. Examine the history and emergence of playgrounds from the early 1900s.
2. Assess the rise of safety and surfacing as a concern for American playground designers.
3. Describe modern playground equipment and its impact on the health and development of all children.
4. Explore the sustainable aspects of playground design, including earning points for LEED certification.
5. Discuss emerging playground trends.
Kathy Price-Robinson
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Course Codes
PlayPower, Inc

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