Designing Richardson’s New Play Spaces
On Wednesday 15 May, YWCA Canberra Clubhouse members participated in a consultation for a new whole of suburb play spaces review, for Richardson through the ACT Government Better Suburbs Play Spaces Program.
A Citizen’s Forum in 2018 allocated $1.9 million to improve play spaces across Canberra. The consultation was an opportunity for us who live in and around Richardson to contribute to the designs for one new or replaced feature play space and a plan for play across the whole suburb to achieve a better mix.
The consultation commenced with a group activity that encouraged us to be as creative and lavish as we wanted. We were told that the sky is the limit and reminded of how important it was that our views were considered when designing these new play spaces. We were given set pictures of things that are often included in play spaces, such as swings, exercise equipment, slides, and asked to glue down onto butcher’s paper the five that we felt were most important to include. We were also asked to draw and write down any more ideas that we had.
We didn’t hold back! There was a lot of suggestions for trampolines, flying foxes, rails to skate on, slides with foam pits and more. It was really exciting to be able to include anything and everything we thought would be fun.
The second activity was to discuss the existing play spaces in Richardson. We talked about whether we knew about the playgrounds, whether we had been to them, why and why not, and what would make them better. It was interesting to hear that many of us either didn’t know about the four existing playgrounds, or thought that they were boring and didn’t use them.
The final activity was the most important because we were asked questions about who is excluded from the existing play spaces, such as people with a disability. In addition, we thought about our grandparents and how if there was more seating, shade, and seated games such as chess then it may be more appealing for them.
The evening ended with a pizza dinner as a special treat for contributing to our community for the better. It was a great opportunity to reflect on what we want in play spaces, and we really appreciate and thank the ACT Government Better Suburbs Play Spaces Program for wanting our opinions, for encouraging us to be honest, and to dream as big as we want.