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The Urban Forest
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
The Children’s play area in the Urban Forest* is a small intervention in a park.The initial conceptual development for this playscape began along the lines of creating a forest within a forest. A space where children can meander through the foliage, interact with birds, collect at the foot of a mound, hide in nooks, climb hills or rest under trees and observe the surroundings from different elevated heights. This was complemented by strategically placed interventions encouraging play, which would aid sensory development and physical growth as well as provide multiple experiences for different types of play.
*Urban Forest is an initiative led by Shahzad Qureshi.
A palette of natural materials, namely wood, bamboo, hemp and jute as well as recycled metal were used in the making. These
are materials that blend in with the environment of the forest, they age gracefully and are soft and gentle to welcome children.
Naturally occurring materials, especially plant based materials do not absorb or reflect extreme heat. This creates a comfortable
environment, where objects are not too hot to touch or inhabit. Small closely packed play interventions add to the experience. The journey through the urban forest is not structured by one path, children are able to choose and make their way through the elements in whatever order they naturally follow. One may start by ascending the bamboo jungle gym, slide back down and run to the bridge. At the highest point of the mound a child may discover small wooden playhouses, and be able to occupy them.
The design and construction process has been a labour of love, culminating in a sustainable, socially inclusive park with a powerful impact on the people who inhabit it
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