How might we put design (of playground) in direct conversation with pedagogy? Here, working with Doreen Massey’s theorization of place, I propose a physical landscape feature as manifestation of what Massey (2005/2015) calls one of most productive characteristics of material spatiality that enables “’something new’ to happen” – the “potential for the happenstance juxtaposition of previously unrelated trajectories” (p. 94).
In two sections of the playground, the paths are narrowed (from 1.5m to 0.9m) by two rows of evergreen hedges on either side. What we are trying to create here, is a call back to “throwtogetherness” of place (p. 140), the ongoing negotiation / conversation between humans and non-humans, revealed in the physical need to shift closer, to the side, to allow someone else to pass. The tightness of the path, the brush of needles against the skin, the movement of bodies resonates with Massey’s writing about “that business of walking round a corner and bumping into alterity, of having (somehow, and well or badly) to get on with neighbours who have got ‘here’ … by different routes from you” (p. 94).
Massey, D. B. (2005; reprinted 2015). For space. SAGE.
Image: photograph of a hedge from gardentabs.com