Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Article on climate change and playgrounds

Fitts Park.

Washington Post article, "Kids getting burned on swings and slides? Here’s how to fix it," cites the work of researchers at Western Australia University, published in the paper "Outdoor playgrounds and climate change."  

They've also produced what looks to be a very good Guide to Climate-Friendly Playgrounds.

They find that shade has a tremendous effect on reducing temperatures at playgrounds.  

Main playground at Sugar House Park.  (A second playground needs much more serious refurbishment, which is a project for down the road.)

Interestingly, this is an issue that I want Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City to deal with.  Adding a shade screen and misters to some of our facilities is on the agenda for the next capital planning cycle.

There is at least one park in Salt Lake County that has a shade screen for its playground, Fitts Park in the City of South Salt Lake. So far that's the only one I can find.

Sadly, I went through Las Vegas a couple times in May but didn't think to check out their parks, as many have shade screens and other devices at addressing the effect of heat.

I also want to add misters, to a set of basketball courts too.  Long term, we need to think more carefully about "growing" trees as shade devices in focused ways.

Canyon Rim Park, Salt Lake County Parks.

There is a playground at Canyon Rim Park in Millcreek, Utah that is well nestled in trees so that a shade screen isn't required.

Note this is also an issue with transit.  Las Vegas has misters on sidewalks, as does Palm Springs, California.  Phoenix has deployed misters in bus shelters.  

And I've seen a couple examples of fans being included in bus shelters also ("Metro testing solar powered fans in future bus shelters," Houston Chronicle).

Also see "Park system ratings for 2023 | Trust for Public Land ParkScore® rating system."

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At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is abhorrent to urban/parks planners, but I've always though highway and rail overpasses are *sometimes* good candidates for shaded recreation. Wilson Bridge on the VA side has lots of space which is utilized, but could be more. Should be easy to light at night too.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Toronto's Underpass Park is very popular. With the success of the High Line in New York, the value of interstitial spaces of all types are being recognized. Oh, in Salt Lake there's a pump track on the 9 Line Trail using the underpass of I 15.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...


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