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Playtime adventures at Baltic Street

As part of our series looking back at 2014-15 projects, we explore the Baltic Street Adventure Playground, a supervised child-led adventure playground for children from 6 to 12 years.

Baltic Street Adventure Playground

As part of Glasgow 2014, Baltic Street fused creative excellence into the design of a community playground for children who lacked any outdoor space to play.

The preparation and planning for the 2014 Commonwealth Games provided a catalyst for a wide-ranging cultural celebration in Glasgow and across Scotland.  Working together Clyde Gateway, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland oversaw VELOCITY - a programme of projects that looked to bring together the best ideas and practice within regeneration, cultural development and community engagement. A central part of VELOCITY was a major commission seeking to create a highly imaginative permanent public project of international significance.

The result of this commission is the Baltic Street Adventure Playground conceived and delivered by architecture collective - and 2015 Turner Prize winners - ASSEMBLE, in collaboration with Create, an organisation which works with artists and how they can positively affect the lives of people in cities.

Baltic Street is located in a community where many live below the poverty line, and for local children there was no green outdoor spaces suitable for, or dedicated to, play.  As Glasgow’s only free-to-access outdoor supervised play space, it sought to addresses the ‘hidden’ barriers to play and recognise children as active and important members of the community they are growing up in.  The playground’s design set out to provide a playfully creative refuge for children living in a modern city, and give them the potential to experience their local environment in new and imaginative ways.

Robert Kennedy, a playworker at Baltic Street, said: “The project is about social change within the local area and the social change that the project team can bring about for the children using the playground – by including them in the whole process. The children get so much out of it because they’ve got local people around them, who they can trust, putting so much into it. The job has allowed me to show a passion, to use my hands to build, to get involved with the kids and let them take the lead.

Kids mainly know their limits and their boundaries and it’s great watching as they find them.- Robert Kennedy

"One of the main drivers for me was the chance to give children a strong role, to say to children: “On you go!” They are too ‘wrapped in cotton wool’, looked after to a constricting degree. Kids mainly know their limits and their boundaries and it’s great watching as kids find them”.

See Baltic Street's website for more about the playground.

See more profiles of work that contributes to our Place and Quality of Life ambition, gathered as part of our 2014/15 annual review.