THE JUNGLE GYM: An exploration of the potential for designing the biophilic playground

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George Knight
Essay Abstract: 
The low biodiversity and general lack of green space within urban areas instills lasting negative impacts on city inhabitants. With the inevitable rise in urban sprawl and exacerbation of the associated sustainability issues, cities must provide increased environmental access. In addition to aesthetic functioning, green interventions and biodiversity improvements have been shown to positively impact both the mental and physical health of humans, particularly at a young age. In response to the lack of access to nature in urban areas, this study proposes the invention of a novel typology: the biophilic playground. Designing green spaces specifically targeted at a young audience presents a unique design challenge, especially within the context of a dense urban environment. This paper reviews the existing body of literature surrounding the value of biodiversity in cities. In considering the necessary steps needed to begin these interventions in urban spaces, the paper also details a GIS process for identifying sites of interest given certain data inputs, including proximity to schools, parks, and vegetation, socioeconomics, and population density.