Gone are the days where play and recreation are deemed only for children. As landscape architects, city planners and playground designers create concepts for new community spaces, it’s essential that they take a multi-generational approach. Parents, grandparents, young adults and children must be represented through thoughtful design and programming.
Fitness parks are appearing in cities across the United States, and they are frequented by individuals of all ages, fitness levels and socio-economic backgrounds. These parks serve a two-fold purpose: First, they focus on helping individuals improve their health by being active. Second, they offer a destination where community members can socialize with one another. Because a diverse group of people visit these parks, it’s important that they have a multi-generational focus. Freestanding fitness equipment should include exercises that range in difficulty so it’s suitable for people of all fitness levels. To accommodate people of all abilities, equipment should be adjustable where possible, allowing the customization of features like height or weight. Ergonomic and accessible equipment options should be available alongside standard equipment so that people with limited range of motion or those in mobility devices can enjoy a quality workout.
When designed with multiple generations in mind, workout stations can feature activities for youth and adult fitness including a mixture of equipment that focuses on aerobics, balance, flexibility, stability, therapeutics, core and muscle strength. Signage throughout a space helps caretakers, adults or senior citizens stay mindful of rules and safety guidelines.
Additionally, the safety surfacing in a fitness park plays an important role in ensuring that people of all ages and abilities can navigate the space safely and easily. By including ramps, curbs and anti-slip texturing, the safety surfacing provides an extra layer of protection for teenagers, adults or senior citizens as they exercise and move throughout the space.
Multi-Generational Community Spaces
Small towns and large cities alike are home to many multi-use public spaces that bring people together. These community spaces have evolved to better accommodate the needs and interests of all visitors, regardless of age, background or ability. Various amenities are often located in these shared spaces, and it’s important that they are accommodating for all visitors. Picnic tables should feature accessible designs that allow people in wheelchairs and mobility devices sufficient space to sit next to friends or family. Park benches should be built at comfortable heights for people with limited range of motion. Ramps and rails should be strategically incorporated throughout the area, including high-traffic areas like entryways and bathrooms, to assist parents with strollers or adults with walkers or canes. Features such as countertops, stairs, door handles and walking surfaces should be designed with ergonomics, safety and accessibility in mind.
The overall programming available in these community spaces also enhances their multi-generational appeal. Activities and events should cater to people of different backgrounds and abilities. Inclusive playground equipment that includes sensory-rich activities and areas for independent play are fun options for children. Open fields for sports are enjoyed by both adults and young kids. Community stages or picnic areas can serve a wide range of people including parents hosting birthday parties, senior citizens enjoying a game together or young adults meeting for coffee. A public art structure or statue that reflects a community’s heritage adds value and meaning to a space, and it can be used to educate and inspire people of all generations. Ultimately, the care and consideration given to the activities and amenities available in a multi-use space largely determines its collective value to a community.
Multi-generational spaces are valued by how they meet visitors’ needs. They understand the importance of catering to the desires and interests of all individuals, and they invest in programs, amenities and designs that are meaningful and impactful. Agnostic to age, ability, fitness level or background, a multi-generational space will provide intrinsic value to a community for years to come…and that’s truly something worth sharing with all generations.
Are you interested in designing a multi-generational space in your community? Contact CR Studio Design to learn how we can help with your next project.