Seeing Central Park: The Official Guide Updated and Expanded

Seeing Central Park: The Official Guide Updated and Expanded

Central Park: Original Designs for New York's Greatest Treasure

Central Park: Original Designs for New York's Greatest Treasure

Central Park’s Adventure-Style Playgrounds: Renewal of a Midcentury Legacy

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100840
Written by the Conservancy's Historian, Marie Warsh and published in collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Central Park Conservancy. In New York’s Central Park, some of the playgrounds constructed as part of the midcentury experimental “playground revolution” still remain. In Central Park's Adventure-Style Playgrounds, Marie Warsh tells the engrossing history of these playscapes built in the 1960s and 1970s, exploring their connections to the art, recreational design, urbanism, grassroots movements, and child-development theories of the period. She further details the Central Park Conservancy’s efforts decades later to preserve and renew these playgrounds. The so-called adventure-style playgrounds featured interconnected forms including pyramids, mounds, and steps, and basic materials such as water and sand, encouraging new levels of creativity and interaction. By the end of the 1970s, ten of Central Park’s twenty-two existing playgrounds—formerly paved, sterile, standard-equipment-filled lots dating to the 1930s—had been transformed according to the new design ideals, making the playgrounds a popular destination in the park and the city. With time, the deterioration of adventure-style playgrounds led to concerns about their safety, and many were removed. However, community interest led the Central Park Conservancy to update and preserve those that remained in the park. Building on successful aspects of the playgrounds, designers incorporated new technologies, materials, and equipment that reflect contemporary ideas about children’s play and approaches to urban park management, developing strategies to better integrate them into the landscapes of the park. Today, Central Park’s adventure-style playgrounds represent significant works of modern landscape architecture as well as models for new thinking about playground design. Paperback: 184 pages Publisher: LSU Press (November 20, 2019)