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Showing posts from March, 2010

A Quick Primer on American Playground History

Since colonial times parks have been a staple feature of American cities, following European urban planning traditions. But it wasn't until the early-20th century that playgrounds, and America's urban landscape in general, began to shift into what's recognizable to present-day city dwellers.

As eastern cities teemed with immigrants and a surging youth population, the need for designated public play spaces became more and more apparent. Private philanthropic organizations such as the Outdoor Recreation League of New York City and the National Playground Association took the lead in establishing the first public recreation areas on public park land.
New York City parks were the first to incorporate the first generation of modern playground equipment, with Seward Park in 1903 accounting for the first American playground built by a city government. The Manhattan park's design, complete with slides, seesaws and other now familiar amenities, serves as a flagship model for t…