Playground Design Challenges

The architect of a $2 Million park renovation at Morningside Park in NYC meet with some unusual challenges. Design a park where all the equipment is bulletproof — which explains why New York playground slides are made of stainless steel, rather than plastic, as is usually the case elsewhere.

Playground designers, according to NYC Architect Alexander Hart, must also make sure to avoid creating what Mr. Hart terms “sleepable surfaces” — places like covered slides where the homeless might seek privacy or a retreat from the weather. Even a small roof that Mr. Hart designed for some of the jungle gym’s platforms had to include holes and slats so that it wouldn’t provide the kind of cover from the rain that would attract people seeking refuge. “It’s a real community concern,” Mr. Hart said.

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