James Street Park, Redfern & Risk taking in design and play

31/05/2015 6:06
I had seen a photo of a new pocket park in James Street Redfern the other day and had some time to spare today, so I thought I’d give it a visit.
As anyone who has read my site and blog would know I specialize and promote the design and construction of naturalistic play environments, hence I was specifically interested in how they had incorporated a mature tree into the playspace.
As the photos show the park slopes gently downwards from William Street to George Street, running parallel to Cleveland Street. The park has been built up to the William Street level for about a 2/3 of its length then gently descends to George Street using terraced sandstone blocks.

The platform around the tree appears to have been purpose built with steps leading up to it and a slide descending from it on the William Street side. There is also a hydraulic fireman’s pole on the George Street side.   

There is a machined green metal roof over the platform, some of the holes are studded with multi-coloured marbles, which I’m sure provide a beautiful effect on a sunny day. 
The thing that I found really interesting was the school aged child who had used the the platform railings and roof as a means to climb into the actual tree. I have circled him in red in the picture below, his bag, stowed under the platform is also circled. I’m unaware of the intended age group the park and it’s equipment was created for but in the inner, inner city there are very few trees this accessible for climbing.
The structure itself has been created to reduce risks in play, everything from the sit-down bar on the slide to the high railings and vertical slats, yet it is the tree and the risk of climbing an actual tree he is drawn to. Interesting?

Tess Michaels