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Whittington Estate: action research with resident children to show the viability of the site to host a range of activities.

appropriation

ownership through authoring solitary play

informal surveillance or detached parenting?

active play

shared experience social play


the estate construction uses a limited palette of materials, stone, breeze blocks, precast concrete and metal, and colours; mineral green and white, to create a strong visual language of modular repetition. the design of the play space will take the existing limited palette and design language into account. the spatial layout of the ats gives degrees of give and take between public space and the private spaces of front doors and balconies and has a strong sense of communal management


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challenging play we played in the road we used to make a swing from the lamppost, sometimes you’d crack your head we climbed over the wall into the cemetery, we’d hide in the trees and make dens, they’d turn the dogs on us, but dogs where different in them days, not so scary we made dens in the woods across from the estate sometimes we went to the park, but mostly we just played as a gang, all the children together, we played everywhere, in the road, in the woods.... peop;e looked out for others peoples’kids, doors where always open, that is still true in places on the estate we sat on the bins and chatted and the boys went to the football pitch make a flying fox from one end to the other a huge swing a skate park, somewhere we can ride our bikes (cycle route to and through Waterlow park) just something exciting

adult particpants October 9th child participants October 11th

the perception of some residents of boisterous, active play as anti social behaviour, the necessity of older children to test boundaries, play as transgression, the value of appropriate adult role models providing meaningful activities.


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social play

making space for things to happen, a picnic and BBQ area for the whole family, a long table make it a family space community interaction, somewhere for the older generation to go if you make it for everyone it is less likely to be taken over by one group adult particpants October 9th the site was able to accommodate a series of groupings, children made and occupied their own dens, both as individuals and small groups but they also moved around and freely gave up and repossessed their “territory”.

child participants October 11th

two children played alone with little interaction with others and were happy to do so the adults provided an initial focus of activity for many of the children, however as the afternoon went on more spontaneous self directed play between the children developed.

there is an underlying anxiety from some residents of social play as potentially undesirable behaviour, this ranges from; “I don’t let her play out alone, what’s the point in just hanging around, if she is doing something meaningful that is ok, but otherwise no” ( child, 10 begs to be allowed to walk the 100m to her home alone and is refused by her mum) to a fear of space becoming colonised by a single group for drug dealing or casual drinking as has been previously experienced.


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performance as play make a space where we could have a show anything can be a stage

adult particpants October 9th child participants October 11th three of the older boys were particularly delighted to have an audience and creatively appropriated the den making remains to amuse themselves by making spectacles of one another. it was apparent they were testing the boundaries of what was acceptable but remained good natured .


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after dark play we played out after dark when we were children, why shouldn’t they? if it was lit properly they could have longer playtimes. children need to know they can be seen, it makes them feel safe and it deters undesirable gatherings adult particpants October 9th

the estate borders Highgate cemetery to the west, this densely wooded, occasionally peopled and semi ruinous environment is a strong presence, particularly after dark when it recedes into inky blackness illuminated in patches by the light spilling from kitchen windows the estate is in a conservation area and is revered by some as seminal piece of architecture, any material changes or additions to the ďŹ xtures must be in keeping with the existing.


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play as a learning experience brings back memories tactile exploration children need to get dirty gardening type activities could happen on an adhoc basis, organised, but children just come and join in if they want, if we have edible planting we want to spend some money on activities, the treasure hunt game entailed matching paint swatch colours to objects in the local environment and encouraged close looking and exploration. a majority of children enthusiastically participated for most of the afternoon.

some children were wary of playing in the site, they thought it dirty and continually mistook mud for dogmess a number of older boys took great delight in smashing the loose bricks found on the site

adult particpants October 9th child participants October 11th


saturday 11th

sunday 12th

play is time and a playground is a space to rehearse and adapt experiences and what is learned from other children and adults. perception by some adults that this is mess and misbehavior.


Whittington Estate Consultation Document