Play through environmental design

SESSION: Thursday 21st March, 4:10pm - 4:40pm
Dr Damien Puddle

The NPS-UD is the government's attempt to guarantee well-functioning urban environments in New Zealand's cities and towns that can adapt to the evolving needs of diverse communities. The NPS-UD has triggered plan changes from councils across the nation as they attempt to grapple with its requirements. One of the voices traditionally absent from plan change discussions, but one that is vital to understanding what a well-functioning urban environment for everyone means, is that of children. In traditional planning approaches, the most important childhood pastime, play, is typically relegated to parks and formal sport facilities. This overlooks the needs children have of their urban spaces, particularly for informal play in all the other areas they inhabit and navigate. Hamilton City Council (HCC), through their strategic approach to ensuring play is an everywhere activity, have attempted to include play within Plan Change 12, its response to the NPS-UD. This presentation unpacks the author's experiences pioneering the first council play advocacy role tasked with activating the HCC Play Strategy, and subsequently, making the case for the inclusion of play within the city's district plan. The presentation will demonstrate the challenges of embedding play into a district plan and introduce a novel design approach: Play Opportunities Through Environmental Design (POpTED). Modelled off CPTED and active design principles, POpTED aims to help planners contribute to creative city-wide play enablement beyond traditional play spaces. Attendees will be encouraged to consider how they can include POpTED into their areas of work and influence to ensure that informal play is a key component of well-functioning urban environments for current and future generations of children.

Presented By

Dr Damien Puddle

Local Play Advocate, Invercargill City Council

Damien has been connecting the worlds of academia and play for 13 years, drawing from both to improve wellbeing outcomes in the communities he has been involved in. Damien is passionate about urban play, its value for people and cities, and is particularly interested in how to make spaces and places multi-functional. Damien was the country's first Local Play Advocate embedded into local government (Hamilton City Council) and is the CEO of Parkour NZ - Tauhōkai Aotearoa.