16.15 Playgrounds/Play Spaces
(See also Chapters 2 and 12)
1. In deciding on the location of appropriate play areas, regard should be had to the needs of all age groups. Play spaces for small children, i.e. under 5s, should be provided close to residential dwellings, i.e. within one minute’s walk of each front door, safe from traffic and other hazards, overlooked informally from dwellings or frequented roads or footpaths, but should be located so that disruption is minimised. These spaces should have sunny and shady parts and be equipped with natural play elements such as logs/tree stumps/sand/water, etc., and with apparatus for swinging, climbing, and rocking.
2. The following Principles For Designing Successful Play Spaces shall be applied:
- Use made of natural elements
- Wide range of play experiences provided
- Accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children
- Meets community needs
- Allows children of different ages to play together
- Builds in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
- Sustainable and appropriately maintained
- Allows for change and evolution.
3. Play/recreational spaces and facilities for older children and teenagers, e.g. multi-use games areas, teenage shelters, skateparks, etc. should be available either within the scheme or close by, such as in a local square or green space where good linkages with the residential development can be created and where meaningful community interaction can take place. Facilities should also be provided for teens and older people where they can congregate while also respecting others. This can be achieved by providing such facilities in welltrafficked, central areas of the scheme/ neighbourhood rather than trying to hide them (Urban Design Manual, 2009).
4. Formal and informal games/recreational areas for parents and other adults should also be integrated within schemes. One of the key aims for any development should be the bringing together of different groups on neutral territory where all can intermingle safely and securely.
5. Play/recreational spaces should be attractive, safe and engaging. Pedestrianisation in the vicinity of such areas should be maximised, and traffic should be eliminated or traffic-calming measures put in place. In addition, these spaces should be made identifiable by appropriate ‘play’ signage and there should be a network of routes linking homes with these spaces which enable children to travel freely around by foot, bicycle, skates or other wheeled play vehicles.
6. The Dublin City Play Plan 2012 – 2017: ‘Play here, Play there, Play everywhere’ and accompanying Play Checklist will provide overall guidance for the development of playgrounds and play spaces in the city.
7. Re-development proposals on sites containing a pre-existing play/ recreational use should ensure that this use in terms of floor/ground space is no less than that on-site prior to re-development, and if possible should represent increased provision in this regard.
8. It is the policy of Dublin City Council to provide play equipment and play opportunities for children in locations in addition to our parks, such as trafficfree public squares and plazas, outside cafés and restaurants, and in locations that are attractive to both adults and children.