Using Alma Road, Clayfield, as our example, we recently teamed up with leading architectural firm Guymer Bailey, to transform this typical local street into an inclusive, sensory street-scape as our submission for the PLAYscapes competition run by Building Trust International.
The idea to transform this local street was inspired by the lack of opportunity young children have to freely play in their own street and for that environment to be curated to maximise interaction, learning, and sensory experiences.
Our residential streets are now traffic channels – kids can’t safely ride their bike or run up the street and play. This level of isolation and protection in our streets generally results in a loss of community identity – and we want to change that for our own kids.
The design team incorporated a ‘7 Senses’ approach when transforming Alma Road, an approach that caters to all seven of the human senses. The proposal would see the street transformed into a tree-lined play and exploration zone, incorporating sensory gardens, community gathering space and improved connections between the street and the parklands that meet the cul-de-sac.
By considering the seven human senses we create an environment that is inclusive for all levels of abilities, including children with sensory processing disorder and autism. The growing rates of sensory disability – such as blindness, autism or even hearing loss – and the increases in mental illness, mean that communities will need to change. This should be championed by councils and public space designers, and it should start sooner than later.
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