Thursday, December 3, 2009

M Paul Friedberg

The Cultural Landscape Foundation have created these online oral histories on Landscape Architects of note and the latest one completed is about M. Paul Friedberg. I studied his work while researching for my thesis on children and nature. Here is a great article on the Dwell website about him and architect Richard Dattner, among others, and the work they did on playgrounds in the 60's and 70's.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Friedberg and Dattner were interested in the connections between imaginative play, exploration, and cognitive development as explored by psychologists such as Jean Piaget, R. D. Laing, and Erik Erikson. “An environment that provides only the familiar challenges that already have been overcome countless times, will never call forth any new learning,” observed Dattner in his 1969 book Design for Play. After observing how children choreograph their own entertainment in construction sites and on city streets—running, jumping, swinging, and vaulting from hydrant to fire escape to stairwell—both men championed “linked” or “continuous” play rather than offering one static experience per element. “The choice of what to do next becomes an experience. The more complex the playground, the greater the choice and the more enriched the learning experience,” explained Friedberg in his 1970 book Play and Interplay."

Funny to think that they thought like that 40+ years ago and it seems so innovative reading it today..... why haven't we built upon that knowledge and moved on? Are our playgrounds and parks creative and enriching places? Not from where I'm standing......

Check out his interview about facilitating opportunity and facilitating play. Follow the link, launch the oral history module, then click on the design tab and scroll down.

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