HONG KONG, 11 October 2015 – Play spaces in Hong Kong often excessively focus on safety and lack variety. They are not exciting and fun enough to attract children, let alone meeting their needs for play experiences. In view of this, Playright Children’s Play Association (Playright), the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) and the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architect (HKILA) initiated Hong Kong’s first ever playground design competition in February this year, in hopes of collecting design concepts for a playground that caters for all children. Winners of the Student and Professional Categories have been selected. The Leisure & Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) have started to study the feasibility of the winning designs, and plan to adopt suitable elements for implementation at Tuen Mun Park pilot site, hoping to build the first “better playground” for children with a variety of abilities in the near future.
Hong Kong’s first playground design competition calls for better design for the playground in Tuen Mun Park
The Better Playgrounds, Better Future —UNICEF Inclusive Play Space Design Ideas Competition Prize Presentation ‘cum’ Opening Ceremony of Exhibition was held today (11 October), and was officiated by Mr Paul Chan, Secretary for Development.
Playright, UNICEF HK and HKILA organized the UNICEF Inclusive Play Space Design Ideas Competition in February this year. Participants had to integrate the regional characteristics, uniqueness of the park, spatial placement, functionality, structure, details and user pattern of Tuen Mun Park into their playground designs. Winners of the different categories have been selected. According to the jury, the overall standard of the entries were outstanding. In general, the winning and shortlisted entries have demonstrated innovative design approach in accommodating facilities for users with a wide and diverse range of abilities. Apart from serving the functional requirements, the have also responded to the context of the site with their respective and distinct design themes.
To arouse public interest in exploring the possibilities of improving the existing play spaces, from now to 15 November, an exhibition of the winning designs is held at the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, at which six winning entries from the Professional Category and eight from the Student Category are showcased. They are designs that can provide children withphysical, sensory and social play experience. Apart from the winning pieces, the exhibition also features creative exhibition booths made of different parts of various playground facilities, such as swing, roundabout and monkey bars, and the venue mimics a real playground. Besides, an interesting exhibition wall is erected to demonstrate the concepts and elements of a quality inclusive playground, and educate the public about the infinite possibilities of a playground. Dr CB Chow, BBS, Chairperson of Playright Children’s Play Association, said, “ All children need to play. A well-designed and well-managed play environment that puts children first will provide the essential play experiences that are fundamental to a happy and healthy childhood, and benefit the family and community at large. Through the winning designs, we hope to demonstrate the inexhaustible range of possibilities of playgrounds, and arouse public interest in the importance of a quality play space.”
Arousing public interest through exhibition; building the first “better playground” in Tuen Mun Park
Moreover, the organizers are working closely with LCSD and the ArchSD to discuss the details of the implementation of the “better playground” design, by adopting suitable and applicable design ideas of the winning entries in the renovation of the playground in Tuen Mun Park. It is hoped that the project can be carried out in the near future.
Quality playgrounds unlock children’s potentials and promote better development of society
A quality playground provides a relatively safe and controllable environment for children to discover and understand the world. In play, children face various difficulties and challenges, and acquire different life skills. Play is an important part of a child’s social, physical, intellectual, creativity and emotional development. It helps to unlock the full potential of children, who will be leaders of the future society. In the long run, quality playgrounds are essential to better development of our society.
Ms Au King Chi, Chairman of the Advocacy and Public Relations Committee of the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, said, “Play is beneficial to children. Therefore, since 2012, UNICEF HK has collaborated with Playright through its Child Rights Advocacy Project toadvocate for ‘inclusive play’, so that every child, regardless of their abilities, can have access to quality play in suitable environments. We hope to encourage people from the business sector and non-governmental organisations to join us in creating a ‘better playground’ for all children and protecting their right to play.”