Empowerment in the Playground: Planning for Inclusive Interaction and Barrier Elimination for Children with Down Syndrome - 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)
This presentation, based on Master of Landscape Architecture thesis research, was inspired by a playful childlike imagination as well as the desire to provide enjoyment for children of all abilities in outdoor recreational settings. The notion of free and fearless fun was created to embody the experience of children playing in a space without judgment, fear, or prejudice from other children. To get a nuanced perspective on how to create inclusion, this project included interviews with designers, landscape architects, occupational therapists, and playground specialists. Along with these interviews, surveys and conversations with parents were also conducted to obtain their perspectives and concerns. The presentation will share inclusion solutions based on a literature review and the analysis of New Jersey playgrounds as case studies. As a result of these studies of past and present playgrounds through the eyes of an extensive group of people, the theory that playgrounds can benefit children with Down syndrome both physically and psychologically through free and fearless design solutions was demonstrated.
- Classify how children with Down syndrome can play in spaces with others.
- Evaluate what free and fearless fun looks like in a playground setting.
- Distinguish how impactful landscape architecture can be when contributing to a recreational experience.
Hosted by ASLA's Children's Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network (PPN)
image credit: Jolean London
Colliers Engineering and Design
Jolean is a Landscape Designer who works on commercial projects at Colliers Engineering and Design, and residential projects in her spare time. Planting with natives, working with nonprofits, and designing inclusive spaces captures the essence of her post grad work. After finishing her masters in 2022 at Rutgers University, her new goal became working towards becoming a licensed landscape architect.
Kenneth R. Hurst, PhD, ASLA (Moderator)
Assistant Professor of the Practice
Texas A&M University
Kenneth R. Hurst, PhD, MLA, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, CPSI, is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. He applies behavior mapping research to evaluate evidence-based support for the contribution individual park elements, and accessible design make toward levels of use and physical activity in urban park environments.