Studio Ludo's Research Featured on Front Page of New York Times

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We're thrilled that Studio Ludo's work was featured in a New York Times article this past Sunday (March 11, 2018). Our Director, Meghan Talarowski, spoke with New York Times reporter Ellen Barry about the state of playgrounds in the U.S. and our research findings in our London Study of Playgrounds. See below for an excerpt from the article:

"Play spaces also changed: Plank swings and steel merry-go-rounds disappeared, while impact-absorbent rubber surfacing spread over so-called drop zones, driving up the cost of new playgrounds. A market appeared for lab-tested, safety-certified fiberglass boulders. The result has been a gradual sterilization of play, said Meghan Talarowski, an American landscape designer who has compared British and American playgrounds.

“It’s a rubber floor, a little structure surrounded by a fence, it’s like a little play jail,” she said of playgrounds in the United States. “As a grown-up, you’re sitting there on your phone, waiting for them to be done.”

Ms. Talarowski, who was struck by how much more adventurous playgrounds were when she moved to London in 2015, threw herself into gathering data. Using a quantitative tool developed by the RAND Corporation, a research center, she used video to track the behavior of 18,000 visitors to London playgrounds, then compared it with similar data on visitors to American parks.

The findings suggested that exciting equipment had a pronounced effect: The British playgrounds had 55 percent more visitors over all, and children and teenagers were 16 to 18 percent more active. The features that held visitors’ attention the longest — sand, grass, high swings and climbing structures — were elements American park managers use sparingly, because of high maintenance costs and the risk of falls, Ms. Talarowski said."