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How to Build a Better School Playground

How to Build a Better School Playground
In her new book Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, Berkeley-based environmental planner Sharon Danks explores the ways in which landscape design, architecture, child development, and nutrition converge in the schoolyard. OnEarth sat down with Danks, whose firm, Bay Tree Designs, Inc, is helping redevelop some 29 San Francisco schoolyards, to talk about how communities are transforming the asphalt playgrounds of the past into green spaces conducive to better learning, eating, and playing.

Q. How have playgrounds changed since we were kids?

A. Playgrounds these days are influenced largely by liability concerns. Swings are disappearing, bars are getting lower, structures are becoming less challenging.

My 4-year-old recently broke her arm on a play structure meant for 2 to 5-yea…
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