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Orange and blue book cover of The Playground Project, with cubed playing apparatus with circular windows. Published by Park Books.

The Playground Project

Edited by Gabriela Burkhalter


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  • Much-expanded and updated new edition of this already classic book on playground design around the world, now available in separate English and German editions
  • Features new research findings on playgrounds in the former German Democratic Republic and new portraits of German playground designers
  • Offers rich new and previously unpublished images as well as ten additional text portraits of female artists, architects, and landscape designers written for this new edition
Full Description

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the open-air playground was a social laboratory. Innovative, wacky, educational, and exciting playground designs emerged in European and American cities, as well as elsewhere around the world: artists, landscape designers, architects, and activists sought to provide children with the best possible place to play, while also reimagining cities and communities.
First published in 2018, The Playground Project instantly became a classic. This much-expanded new edition brings back the wealth of ideas of that period to inspire us today. It offers many previously unpublished images, numerous new portraits, especially of female protagonists of the time, as well as findings from the latest research on playground design. An incisive introductory essay places the playground at the intersections of education, architecture, urban politics, design history, and leisure policy. A detailed focus is placed on the forgotten history of playgrounds in the former German Democratic Republic. Moreover, young researchers explore the culture of memory surrounding the Shek Lei Playground in Hong Kong, and the role that playgrounds played in the process of state-building in Mexico.
The book is a tribute to play in public spaces and a rich source for architects, designers, students, children, and political actors.

About the Author

Gabriela Burkhalter is an urban designer and political scientist based in Basel. She has been working in playground design research since 2008 and curated the exhibition The Playground Project, which travelled to the United States (Pittsburgh), Switzerland (Zurich), Britain (Newcastle), Russia (Moscow), Ireland (Carlow), Germany (Bonn and Frankfurt), Italy (Venice), and Sweden (Lund) between 2014 and 2022.

Park Books
29th Dec 2023
Paperback / softback
World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
298 mm x 215 mm
376 Pages
148 color, 166 b&w
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