Semanggi Playscape Design | July 2019
“Play lies at the heart of childhood, limited in its boundaries only by the opportunities afforded by physical settings and by the attitudes and commitment of those whose business it is to manage them” (Robin C. Moore 1990).
The importance of access to appropriate open spaces for children to play is widely recognised. Children learn during their play and outdoor play is an integral component of their development and growth. However access to outdoor open space for play is not always equitable, particularly in large urban areas where there are competing demands for valuable space. This leads to a need to use imagination to identify unique spaces which can be used for outdoor play in such situations.
One such underutilised space is areas under highway bridges, which are often deserted and dead and which pedestrians tend to avoid due to a lack of light and security. These areas are viewed as difficult for safe social interaction, especially when the sun goes down. Landscape Designers, Architects and Urban Planners need to play a role as city stakeholders in revitalizing these neglected spaces into safe and functional public places, providing for much needed open spaces for childrens’ play in urban areas.
TOWNLAND capitalized on the opportunity to redesign such a space during our appointment as Landscape Architect for the beautification of a 5km stretch of the Jalan Jendral Sudirman Street Corridor, a prime CBD area in the heart of Jakarta. The Project is part of the City`s beautification in support of the Asian Games 2018. TOWNLAND identified an area under the Semanggi Bridge, an important historical site in the City, as having the potential for regeneration as an active public place and the location of the Bridge near the Central Business District and a University makes it an ideal location for development as a playscape.
TOWNLAND set out a design to transform the space into a safe place where children can interact and play, and our design consists of 4 open spaces with different thematic areas focused on Cuisine, Nature, Culture and People. Opportunities are provided for children to learn about Betawi Culture and the indigenous culture of Jakarta through unique traditional board games which form the floorscape of the area. In terms of accessibility, the play areas are barricaded by bollards to protect children from the traffic flow nearby. In addition, selected plant species featuring different textures, colours and shapes were also implemented in adjacent gardens to provide further screening and to stimulate childrens’ senses.