Seniors' playgrounds may never get old
Abstract: With Australia’s population ageing, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that by 2040 there will be approximately 6.8 million seniors in Australia. This context challenges planners to manage urban areas for this growing population and recognise that the built environment does not always accommodate the needs, preferences and abilities of seniors. An international trend in response to these circumstances is the design and installation of seniors’ playgrounds. Absent of the stereotypical slippery dip and swings found in children’s playgrounds, seniors’ playgrounds are purposefully designed for people 65+ years. They focus on coordination, motor skills, and memory functions and accommodate various physical abilities and preferred sociabilities. This paper introduces the concept of seniors’ playgrounds, documents their brief history and provides some planning principles and considerations based on current practice. Two seniors’ playgrounds in Sydney, in the areas of Leichhardt and Penrith local government area used to highlight these planning considerations. The practice of providing seniors’ playgrounds is supported by scholarly literature on parks/playgrounds, place and age-friendly cities as why they are critical to a 21st century city. The knowledge of senior’s playgrounds is useful to planners, designers and policy-makers given that there will likely be an increasing number of seniors’ playgrounds in Australia’s urban landscape.