FOLAR Symposium on Children’s Play

FOLAR Childrens Play Symposium

Congratulations to all involved with an excellent FOLAR symposium on children’s play.There are 3 videos embedded in this blog post and the other 6 can be found on another blog post on chidren’s play.

Particular thanks to Merrick Denton-Thompson who was not able to be there but who influenced many of the presentations through his work in establishing the Learning through Landscapes Trust (LTL). The Trust has done much, and is still doing much, to make life better for children. As the homepage of its website explains ‘We help children and young people to connect with nature, become more active, learn outdoors and have fun’. Three of the presentations are in this blog post and the other five will be published soon. The symposium is a great illustration of how the landscape architecture profession should operate:

  1. landscape architecture needs a firm theoretical base in the of principles design and planning (characterised by Vitruvius as Commodity, Firmness and Delight)
  2. the profession needs a stream of specialist policy initiatives to explain how the design of good landscapes contribute to societal goals
  3. the profession needs specialist landscape practices to give the ideas reality

After 2 years as President of the Landscape Institute Merrick, very appropriately, handed over to current LI President Adam White. Adam introduced the symposium with a very attractive exposition of how LTL principles can work in practice.  Davies White is a landscape practice that specialises ‘in children’s playful landscapes and gardens’.

My contribution was a short reading from page 97 of Patrick Geddes 1915 book Cities in Evolution (Chapter 5 ‘Ways to the Neotechnic City’). As well as being the leading planning theorist of the 20th century,  Geddes was the first European to use the term ‘landscape architect’ in its modern, Olmstedian, sense (see post on Frederick Law Olmsted and the father of landscape architecture).

Carley Sefton as Chief Executive of the Learning through Landscapes Trust gave a presentation of what has been achieved since its establishment (30 years ago) AND of what remains to be done. It’s a lot.

Tom Turner

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