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Results of Follow-Up Conference

Pasternak recommended that a National Conference be held to review 'playgrounds'. The province approved and the Conference was held at the Science Centre to ensure that Conference participants would be exposed to children throughtout the Conference.

Who attended the Conference? Architects, planners, beaurocrats, landscape architects, parks and recreation administrators, play experts from Universities, play experts from provincial and federal government branches, a few reseachers, Nanine Clay.

All participants were asked to bring copies of their research on playground and present the research to the Conference. Although several university play experts were in attendance (they had written extensively on playgrounds) - had no research tp present because they had never done any research on playgrounds. Nanine Clay and Harry Pasternak were the only people at the Conference who had done any studies on playgrounds.

Pasternak presented his research in a hundred page document. In addition he presented all of the time-lapse films of all the playground on 10 loop film projectors. So that 5 days of filming could be seen in approximately 12 minutes.

As the hundred Conference attendees watched the 10 loops simultaneously - they became quite upset. At the end of the film viewing Pasternak and the Research Council were attacked ( what else do you do when you don’t see kids on the playgrounds?)

Then some of the others present who specialized in research then defended the study (and asked where is your research to disprove Pasternak’s findings?)

For the next few days, all the participants were divided in groups, and went through a series of exercises. These excercises were designed to get the particpants to look back at their own childhood and remember what they did for play and where they did it.

At the end of these sessions ( they happened to be forty and over) everyone indicated that as children, they played on the sidewalks and streets in front of their homes - not at playgrounds.

The next day all the particpants assembled and by consensus develped a series of recommendations.

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Recommendations

1. Don’t build playgrounds.

2. Co-operartively plan with teenagers (and build) a building or hangout in a location frequented by teenagers, for teenagers.

3. Hire playleaders to roam the neighborhood and meet with kids and help the kids plan to do what they want to do.

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Thousand Islands Institute - The Independent Centre For Housing Research & Education