All Ages to Explore Playful Side
Visitors of all ages will be encouraged to explore their playful side at next month’s Ellerslie International Flower Show. The joint Christchurch City Council and City Care’s exhibition garden, Urban Active, is a 30m x 20m playground with a difference – it offers play options for both children and adults. Designed by the City Council and built by City Care Ltd, the garden has four rooms, creating separate spaces for children and adults to “keep playing all their life and keep fit”.
City Council Project Management Unit Manager Mike Hannaway says it is great to be part of Ellerslie again and to highlight just what goes into planning, designing and building each of the city’s playgrounds. “Christchurch has more than 1000 parks and 350 playgrounds. Each of these has its own personality and character, having been designed to reflect the unique character and natural environment of the area.”
He says there is a perception that playgrounds are just “plonked” into parks. “There is a lot more to the design than what most people think – it is not just about what looks good.
“Playgrounds today take into account the changing demographics of the area, and in particular the ageing population, by looking to provide equipment which gives everyone an excuse to keep active and have some fun outdoors.”
Urban Active has a junior play area, featuring some of the latest equipment to help children develop their fine motor skills, be creative and encourage imaginary play; while the outdoor area for adults showcases the latest fitness equipment being put into many city parks. “This equipment is proving popular in our playgrounds with older residents who find it’s not only a great way to keep fit but they get to meet and chat to others in their community.” Urban Active also provides a separate outdoor dining area and sand play area.
Mr Hannaway says the garden has been designed with perennial borders in diamond-shaped patterns of bright colours – oranges, blues, purples juxtaposed with silver and green foliage – to define the spaces. “The garden is framed by tall trees grown at the Council’s own nursery and peppered throughout are flower carpet and standard roses in the new shade Amber.”
He says visitors to the Show will be encouraged to take time to explore the garden and try out the equipment. All equipment and materials used in the garden will be re-used in coming months throughout the city in the Council’s parks and playgrounds. City Care’s Parks Divisional Manager, Ian Mann, says it is rewarding to be working in partnership with the Council again to create the Ellerslie exhibit. “This allows City Care to showcase to the thousands of visitors of the Show the high-quality design and construction work which goes into creating playgrounds throughout the city.”
City Care has been maintaining the Garden City’s parks and playgrounds since 1999.
o Ellerslie International Flower Show, North Hagley Park, 7 to 11 March 2012. For further information www.ellerslieflowershow.co.nz