Nearly one in five people have a disability in the U.S., yet most playgrounds aren’t built to accommodate them.
Typical playgrounds from the 1980s and 1990s used a prefab system of multilevel platforms, often with slides, jungle gyms, or monkey bars veering off into different directions. Bucket swings allowed babies to swing—often next to their older siblings in other standard swings—but this cookie-cutter approach to playground design limited both who could enjoy the space and how kids experienced it.
Recently, cities have shifted away from the standard playgrounds of the past in favor of more natural, adventurous, and engaging designs. Climbing walls, splash parks, sculptural play pieces, and playgrounds where kids can change and mold their environment—like Berkeley’s California Adventure Playground—all inspire kids to play in new ways. Even innovative designs, however, aren’t always inclusive.
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