Dan Fumano: Making Vancouver playgrounds a little less safe, for the kids’ sake
The spaces where Vancouver’s children play might be getting less safe, reversing a previous trend — but that might not be a bad thing.
Kids need safe places to play. But if you ask them, a playground that’s too safe is a boring playground, says Susan Herrington, a professor in the University of B.C.’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture who researches and designs children’s play areas.
And, she says, liability-averse Canadian cities, including Vancouver, moved too far away from risk in their playground design in recent decades.
A trampoline above a steep cliff is probably a bad idea. But letting children grapple with challenging obstacles — even if it produces a few tears and scraped knees — could help them develop and become more resilient.
“There’s a big difference between dangerous and risky,” says Herrington.
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