RE: Playgrounds for preteens
From: Rowenahc (
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 06:09:01 -0700 (MST)
I am not offerin a solution but I do have a question.  What kind of "play
area" could be built on such a limited area that would keep preteens
occupied for any length of time?   Since we live in an urban area we have
much less space - 41 units on 1.3 acres.  Our preteens seem to have a pretty
good time biking, skateboarding and scootering along the internal spine
pathways, playing ball on the lawn, shooting baskets,  and playing ping pong
in the rec room.  We also have parks and stuff nearby but most of the kids
seem to belong to soccer, hockey, gymnastic and other such teams that keep
them busy much of the time. And then there is just hanging out or dressing
up. Most of our kids of this age are girls, does this make a difference?
Once in a while these kids will swing on the swings in the (little kids)
play area but I can't imagine them staying in any small area for any length
of time.

Cambridge Cohousing

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]On Behalf Of Howard Landman
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 7:44 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_When world(view)s collide

I'm wondering if anyone out there has had experience reconciling radically
different world views into a consensus.

The specific problem we're facing now goes something like this:

- We need to have someplace for our bigger kids (say 6-12 years old)
  to play.  We already constructed a sandy play area, but it's mostly
  being used by the toddlers, and there are issues with the older
  kids being too rambunctious for the little ones.

- We are located directly adjacent to a large city park with trees,
  a large playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, a farm,
  and river access.

- We have 34 units on 4 acres, so there's not a lot of space to
  spare.  (This contrasts with nearby Grayrock, which has 15
  acres in addition to its main property.)

There seem to be two main opinions about this (I may be distorting
things slightly to simplify the presentation):

(1) One group believes deeply that it is completely unsafe and
    unacceptable for kids under 10 to be in the park without adult
    supervision, even if they go there in groups of 2 or 3.  They are
    concerned about "predatory types" doing something unspeakable to
    their kids.  They are worried about the river.  Therefore, it is
    "obvious" to them that we *must* build a play area specifically
    for the bigger sub-teen kids, and that it must be in the central
    part of our site so that parents can keep a constant eye on them.

(2) The second group sees nothing wrong with kids that age going to
    the park and back by themselves.  They reminisce about doing
    much more dangerous things when they were kids, and just don't
    see the problem.  The idea of building a playground on our
    limited space when there's a perfectly good playground a couple
    hundred feet away seems silly and redundant to them, a waste of
    a very limited resource.  It is "obvious" to them that this is
    a bad idea.

Having started off in camp 2 and having made some effort to understand
the camp 1 folks, I now am faced with the "Where do we go from here?"
question.  I think I know the scope of the divergence of opinions, but
I'm not sure how to work towards consensus.  The 1 folks are frustrated
because they've brought up this "urgent" issue several times and gotten
nowhere (but they failed to develop a consensus that there was in fact
a problem that needed solving before trying to get specific solutions
adopted).  The 2 folks are frustrated because the issue refuses to go
away (but are not doing a good job so far of listening to the concerns).

Any ideas?  I'm not interested in hearing that "group 1 is right" or
"I agree with group 2".  I want some way to begin synthesizing both
viewpoints into something we can all live with.

    Howard Landman
    River Rock Commons, Ft. Collins CO
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