When first envisioning the community of Brighton, we knew that the parks and green spaces would be an integral piece of the puzzle, woven into the fabric of the community and designed to foster a strong sense of community and belonging between residents of all kinds.
We know that communities are diverse, and that this park should reflect that. We included inclusive and accessible designs across all elements of the park—ensuring that any and all members of the community could join in on the fun. From traditional site furnishings, custom-built playground equipment, inclusive designs, and recycled material, Brighton Core Park is a park we’re all extremely proud of.
Brighton Core Park is designed to truly represent inclusion in play by having something for everyone. Providing a variety of multi-generational activities, this park is a destination where the entire family and community can play, relax and connect.
THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
When it comes to planning, designing, and building inclusive play spaces, we root our efforts in “The 7 Principles of Inclusive Play”, a guiding set of principles developed to create and encourage a standardized approach to building more inclusive play opportunities.
The 7 principles outline a truly inclusive park needs to be:
- Fair: This means ensuring equitable opportunities for all abilities and all ages, considering the play needs of all users within the playgrounds community.
- Inclusive: Design with flexibility in how users can interact with the structure with a variety of levels, movements, and needs.
- Smart: The playground should facilitate intuitive play and fun challenges through clear, simple design that encourages longer play interactions.
- Independent: Creating a space that encourages users to be able to play either independently or as a group and with a variety of access points to engage with the space and enter, exit or observe play with ease.
- Safe: A playground must meet the required safety standards, including rest and observation points.
- Active: This means facilitating play with equipment and design that meets a diverse set of physical needs to encourage cooperative play and socialization.
- Comfortable: Incorporating complementary structures, like shade and seating, into an easy to access, simple design creates a comfortable space for users to stay for longer periods.
In addition to following the 7 principles of inclusive design, we also made sure to incorporate the five developmental benefits of inclusive play:
- Physical Benefits: creating gross and fine motor development
- Cognitive Benefits: facilitating problem-solving, abstract thinking and learning
- Communication Benefits: exploring expressive, receptive, pragmatic language
- Social-Emotional Benefits: encouraging interaction, cooperation and self-confidence
- Sensory Benefits: developing sight, touch, smell, hearing, vestibular and proprioception
The inclusive and accessible design philosophy resulted in Brighton Core Park getting recognized as a National Demonstration Site (NDS).
There are numerous benefits to building a park that adheres to the strict standards of NDS designs:
- National recognition: Every playground built to NDS standards earns a plaque to showcase the leadership exemplified in the park design, giving local communities trust in the quality of the design and play in the park. NDS playgrounds are also listed publicly on the NDS website.
- Demonstrated leadership: Playgrounds following NDS standards are proven to be leaders in the industry, following best practice design specifications to encourage safe play that facilitates growth.
- Best in class equipment: In meeting the NDS requirements, these playgrounds are using market leading equipment to encourage movement for all ages, all abilities, demonstrating a clear commitment to helping communities have more fun together.
EACH National Demonstration Site HAS AN EDUCATION PANEL WITH A QR CODE THAT CAN BE SCANNED TO LEAVE FEEDBACK. BE SURE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEEDBACK BY SCANNING THE QR CODE!
HOW WE INTEGRATED THE FIVE DEVELOPMENTAL BENEFITS OF INCLUSIVE PLAY
The Spray Park: The spray park offers fully accessible spray features plus a dry zone plaza for seating (or picnic-ing!). The spray park will have activators that provide varied spray patterns to engage participants individually and group play for all ages 0 – 99 years of age.
The Challenge Course: The Challenge Course is designed to engage teens and adults with challenging and friendly competitive play and to help further their fitness routines. The course is surfaced with artificial turf to mimic the field of play of a sports field as well as being easily accessible for those with physical disabilities. Many of the obstacles in the challenge course can be utilized by those with a variety of disabilities to support the five developmental benefits. Alongside the course is a plaza area where spectators can watch from the benches or shaded picnic tables. The plaza will include an event or notice board to help to showcase the community events, available to all.
The Play Equipment: This large triple-action play area offers unlimited options for inclusive and creative play. Constructed using a system of ramps and decks, the play equipment is largely accessible to all with mobility challenges while remaining challenging for those without disabilities.
The main play structure enables free, unassisted movement from ground level to the maximum 6’ height with double wide ramps, ramps specifically chosen for multiple users to play side by side. This makes it possible for everyone to share in exploration, thrill and risk taking, regardless age and ability. There are multiple entrances and exits from the main ramp, with accessible transfers for equal and fair play.
Movement is a key component in play and fitness. We added the Skyrun Zip Track, which has both a pod and an accessible seat so that everyone can catch the thrill and zip along.
In addition, we included Double Arch Saucer Swings which enable everyone to experience the “swinging” motion.
Merry Go Rounds continue to be, as when we were kids, one of the most popular opportunities for spinning and our Inclusive Whirl amplifies that opportunity. With ground level access for ease of entrance and side by side play, it inspires co-operation and tummy tickling play.
A variety of sensors that add visual, tactile, and auditory stimulation are also strategically placed at heights that are easily accessed by those in mobility devices. For additional sensory stimulation, sun shades will cast color shadows onto the surface when the sun shines through them.
Educational panels throughout the space will focus on nature and specifically some of the flowers that can be found in our native prairie landscape. Throughout, the play area promotes independent and creative play by all ages and abilities, while working on all five development benefits – this will become the first public inclusive playground design in Saskatoon.
The play equipment area is surfaced with a poured-in-place rubber that is easy to use for children in mobility devices independently of the help of their caregivers. The play surface also feature a variety of sizes and shapes of bumps that allow all to explore their creative side whether on bicycles or mobility devices. The undulation of heights and finishes offer risk takers to challenge themselves as they discover the park. Ground level, accessible play panels allow for independent or group play.
A large plaza space will surround the play area, allowing room for seating, picnic tables, bike racks and free movement around the area.
The Outdoor Amphitheater: The amphitheater will be fully accessible by pathways to the stage area, as well as dedicated seating areas at the top of the Amphitheatre for those with mobility challenges. The amphitheater offers a cultural and artistic outlet for the community regardless of age or abilities. An event or notice board will be located in the plaza, showcasing the communities events and will accessible to all.
The Boardwalk: The boardwalk will extend from the amphitheater down a peninsula to take in the natural viewpoints and sounds of the pond, and will be fully accessible to all ages and abilities. All grades are kept under 5% to meet accessibility guidelines and the sides have open railing that will protect all from the edge while allowing those in mobility devices a viewpoint.
Pathways and Plaza Space – Brighton Core Park has an extensive pathway system that connects all of the site amenities throughout the park via asphalt pathways and concrete plazas. This helps develop a sense of independence for users of all ages and abilities while retaining the sense of community and connectedness throughout. The only site amenities that are not accessed off of a pathway are the future hockey rink, toboggan hill, and hill slide, though a pathway may be added by the community association to the hockey rink at a future date.
Designed for all abilities and all ages, Brighton Core Park has quickly become a destination for the Saskatoon community.