Engaging with Playful Post-industrial Sites
How can we engage children and young people through playful places of meaning and identity in order to rejuvenate a post-industrial site?
Meanings are what transform spaces into places. Therefore, in a shift towards a more sustainable future, the focus should not remain solely on the restoration of the damaged ecosystem, but equally the restoration of the relationship which exists between people and their environments. We must ask ourselves: how can we facilitate the social processes of ecological restoration?
My specific approach is to design playful spaces which draw upon the traces of meaning present in the former site of Glengarnock Steelworks, North Ayrshire. Through the act of play, younger generations that visit the area are encouraged to take an active interest in and begin to reflect on their own relationships with the space, leading to the development of landscape meanings over time which go on to shape a distinct identity. In this way, the questions of sustainability, community building and engagement are addressed, and a previously contaminated post-industrial site is flooded with meaning once again.
Key Words: Landscape Meaning, Landscape Identity, Playfulness, Co-design, Nature-inclusive Design, Post-industrial