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Playing with Fire


Playing with Fire is a proposal for a playground space in the Nichols Arboretum that fosters exploration and connection to the natural environment for children through play. This system design is site-specific but can be taken and adapted to other sites. It contributes to the field of nature play, which is an accessible form of sustainable design; psychological and environmental health studies further support a focus on nature play over standard plastic playgrounds. Research suggests that playing outside as kids fosters pro-environmental behavior in adults, increases resilience to climate change, and strengthens social skills. This integration of environmental science, sociology, psychology, and design acknowledges the need for interdisciplinary work in the face of a climate crisis. Instead of viewing our response to climate change as a sacrifice, we can use the fact that we are nearing the end of many finite resources as an opportunity to think differently.

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