Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Play without place?

After months of looking like a bomb site, Waitangi Park is finally taking visible shape. The Graving Dock is emerging, the skate park is underway, and the play equipment has just arrived.

This equipment may very well be "state of the art", but to me it just looks a little too ... generic. There are a lot of design features in the park that reflect the heritage of the area and help create a sense of place, but these don't: they could be anywhere.

A better alternative would have been to commission local artists, together with children and other experts, to create "playable sculptures". For example, the play area includes a "Crazy Gander" for riding on: couldn't this have been a "Crazy Moa" instead?

I'm sure that the average 5-year-old will enjoy these anyway, but nevertheless it feels like we've missed an opportunity to create something both fun and unique.


At 12:37 pm, September 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they blocked off the foot path several weeks ago - gotta walk all the way around that bombsite, much of the way you need to walk on the road

Wellington is a pedestrian city - i wish they'd put more thought into access around the construction site.

At 1:46 pm, September 06, 2005, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, I'd have hoped they'd do better. Mind you, with a project of this size and complexity, it's hard to ensure continued access for everyone, especially when the footpaths and seaward promenades themselves are an important part of what's being upgraded.


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