Press releases / ARTICLES
RE:PLAY project – 4th press release:
Children and professionals are redesigning playgrounds together in the Western Balkans
RE:PLAY partners gathered in Belgrade exactly in the middle of the project that started in January 2021. So far, the partners have realized a series of co-creative workshops and regional exchanges. The aim of the workshops is to test new design models through which children and young people are included as equal members in decision-making when designing a play space. The goal of this approach is to change the established design practice of designing for children into designing with children.
The results of this approach so far have strengthened children and young people, encouraged their imagination and independence in work and life, but also empowered in exercising the right to public spaces and, more importantly, safe and authentic play.
As part of the regular meeting of partner organizations held in Belgrade, a public event called “Play begins when we appear!” where experts, individuals and representatives of organizations from the field of social sciences, humanities and spatial (technical) sciences met. Within the three-hour interactive program, guests had a unique opportunity to meet and talk from different professional and experiential positions about the theme of the game, its role in the development of our unique personalities, society and cultures.
It was emphasized once again that nature is the ultimate playground that encourages curiosity and imagination and within which all generations can find and create their own space for play.
RE:PLAY project – 3rd press release:
Looking for a European playground
Partners of the RE:PLAY project visited Zagreb at the beginning of November, where they learned about examples of good practices in Zagreb. They visited Travno Elementary School, which has a long practice of nurturing environmental and recreational values that are manifested through the bicycle polygon, a successful project of cooperation between the City of Zagreb, HAC (Croatian Automobile Club) and the school where traffic behaviour competitions are held. In their schoolyard, they also have a traditional orchard, urban vegetable garden and outdoor classroom which came to life in full swing during the Covid19 pandemic. The second school visited was Waldorf School in Zagreb, which curriculum fosters a participatory approach where children and often their parents are involved in all environmental activities and projects implemented by the school, which provides children with valuable knowledge and a great stepping stone for life.
At the House of Architecture ‘Oris’, a conference was held by experts in the field of landscape architecture, kinesiology and pedagogy. Experts brought the participants closer to the importance of interdisciplinarity and how much we can learn from children if approached properly
RE:PLAY project – 2nd press release:
Dutch study trip
The RE:PLAY team spent a 4-day study tour in the Netherlands to look closely at public spaces that were designed with children in focus. The study tour aimed at looking closely at schoolyards that have been designed for children to thrive in nature while integrating concepts that accommodate water management, climate resilience and education for children that use these parks; and organizations that work in the field of public space place-making with a focus on caregivers and children especially.
Through the subsidy scheme of Amsterdam’s Schoolyard Incentive in which schools can apply for funding to redesign their schoolyards, 15 to 20 schoolyards are made over every year. The goal is to render suitable places for children to learn about and play in nature and simultaneously contribute to the rainproof Amsterdam by de-paving and planting, thus providing better drainage for the rainwater. Redesigned playgrounds where pupils are challenged to play and be physically active are serving as a safe and pleasant place to interact even in the off-school time and thus adding to open public space in the city.
The study tour was full of findings, learnings and inspiration from a country where children are put first and can be seen in the design of each neighbourhood and park.
RE:PLAY project – study trip:
Weil am Rhein – Vitra design museum
As a surprise, on Kreativni krajobrazi’s trip through Germany, while driving on a motorway, with the corner of our eye, we noticed a splash of flowers and were intrigued to drive of the way and check Vitra Design Museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
Next to the Museum’s main building, a new garden planned in 2020 by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf was opened in the summer of 2021. Piet Oudolf uses spontaneous and wild-looking compositions of perennials and grasses and creates a place of sensual experience. While walking through the garden people can lose themselves in the flowers and grasses. A system of small paths is developed, without straight lines or a focal point in the end.
The garden is all about the plants that are the centre of attention. It is neither a contrast to the architecture nor something that panders to the surroundings. It is complementary in every aspect and offers an exclusive sensory experience.
RE:PLAY project – study trip:
Stuttgart – kukuk / eins+alles
The Croatian partner Kreativni krajobrazi attended the study tour to Germany. Planned activities were aimed to gather the knowledge and inspiration from Eins+Alles sensory park and KuKuK playgrounds, in order to implement the findings in the pilot project in the partner’s home country and share the knowledge with other project partners.
KuKuK is an interdisciplinary team of architects, landscape architects, artists, carpenters, pedagogues and business economists with many years of experience designing play-scapes for kindergartens and schools, in public spaces, in horticultural shows, private gardens and leisure parks, based in Stuttgart. Kukuk playgrounds offer diverse experiences and possibilities. They demand activity and movement, encourage creativity and fantasy, and offer the possibility to retreat and conscientiously encounter oneself and one’s environment. Kukuk playgrounds offer structure and organise the space in such a way that the user can develop their abilities within it. Their artistically designed outdoor spaces address all senses and train the perception of aesthetical elements like colour, form and proportion. Their artistic interventions also give the space an individual character and distinctiveness.
EINS + ALLES, sensory park, run by the CHRISTOPHERUS Lebens- und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Laufenmühle eV is a workshop for disabled people (WfbM). Eins+Alles is designed as a place of coexistence for visitors and people with disabilities who live there and are integrated into the community by working with plants and animals. Every element in the park is custom-designed with natural materials leaving the visitor the unique experience of feeling all sensory senses through a beautiful walking trail through the wood with art as an inspiration.
Regarding the RE:PLAY project, Eins+Alles is an extraordinary example of the area and community where project partners can learn about various methods of working with people and also how to incorporate art to create special spaces for sensory experiences and free play for children and adults.
RE:PLAY project – 1st press release:
project partners celebrate World Game Day – because play matters
Celebrating World Play Day, RE:PLAY partners were tackled to think about how outdoor play is essential for children’s physical and mental health, as well as their happiness, learning and development. Well-designed playscapes can create conditions for more enriching kinds of play. Project RE:PLAY highlights the significance of designing playscapes by involving children in the design process.
Project RE:PLAY (Redesigning playscapes with children in Western Balkans), is one of 13 proposals selected among almost 350 projects which applied to the Creative Europe call for the cooperation project in Western Balkans. RE:PLAY is engaged in rethinking play as a distinctly human capacity which is currently underrated by urban design. It highlights the importance of designing playscapes with and for children, as they are primary users and should be co-creators as well. RE:PLAY partners are design professionals working with play design and participatory practices for children. We come from 5 countries: Slovenia (Društvo Pazi!park, Ljubljana), Croatia (Kreativni Krajobrazi, Zagreb), Serbia (Udruženje Škogled, Belgrade), Albania (Qendra Marrëdhënie, Tirana) and Montenegro (Gradionica, Bar).
In the next 3 years (2021-2023) five pilot projects – inclusive playscapes will be implemented in each partner’s country, applying the findings and participatory designs hands-on and later translating the work into various dissemination outputs, such as handbooks on co-creative design, videos, blogs and other publishings.