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Design Competition

An international design competition inspires innovative outdoor play spaces for a Philadelphia library, recreation center, and school
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The Community Design Collaborative and Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children hosted an international, interdisciplinary design competition that invited teams to design innovative outdoor play spaces for one of three public sites —a library, a recreation center, and a school.

The power of play space in the community and its impact on early childhood development cannot be underestimated. Play Space is rooted in the concept that urban play space is an unexpected contributor to solving some of the city’s most critical challenges.  These spaces strengthen the fabric of neighborhoods and can help improve early learning skills, imagination, independence, and health outcomes for children and also provide a venue to build strong interpersonal relationships, leading to strong communities and family friendly cities.

Many child care centers and schools in Philadelphia have limited access to outdoor play space, and those that do often fall short of being rich environments for learning and play. Each of the competition sites presented unique challenges and great opportunities. They were in areas with high populations of young children living nearby as well as nearby childcare providers that could take advantage of improved play spaces.

Collaboration was encouraged, and multidisciplinary, integrated teams were required to have at least one licensed landscape architect, architect, or civil engineer. An early childhood educator or childcare provider was strongly recommended. In addition, we encouraged teams to foster creativity and unique solutions by including team members with expertise in playground design, urban design, environmental design, sustainable design, stormwater management, cost estimation, implementation, child development, play, recreation therapy, nature play, environmental education, public policy, public health, community advocacy, or families who use child care. 

September 30, 2015 | Registration opens
November 30, 2015 | Registration closes at midnight EST
January 22, 2016 | Competition entries due
February 8, 2016 | Expert jury review
February 15, 2016 | Finalist notifications
March16, 2016 | Play Space Design Awards 




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