A Recycled Playground
For the New York City Parks and
Recreation Department: Final Report
Nicole Wee (Primary Facilitator): email@example.com
Lauren Pully; firstname.lastname@example.org
Klodya Soryano: email@example.com
Kelly Valencia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kamal Yechoor: email@example.com
December 4, 2007
As one of the most dense, industrialized cities in the world, New York City fosters colossal
pollution and environmental damage. This urban giant houses a vast community of people who
want to escape the skyscrapers and spend time in the parks. Currently, even in such a
metropolis, New York City houses over 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities1.
Although these facilities promote outdoor activity and general environmental awareness, they do
not employ fully recycled materials. Although New York City currently has initiatives such as
“GreeNYC” in place to stimulate the use of recycled materials, the New York Parks and
Recreation Department has not, until now, focused on incorporating wholly recycled materials
into their playgrounds.
Our client, the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, presented our team with the
challenge of incorporating a higher recycled content into the typical New York City playground.
In addition to using environmentally friendly materials, our solution must preserve the
functionality and aesthetics of the playground. In addition to satisfying the goals of the Parks
and Recreation Department, it is important to be cognizant of the needs of the community. In
addition, our design will not be as simple as selecting recycled materials, instead it will be
important to increase the environmental well being as a whole by considering the impact of
consumption of natural resources, pollution due to refining, manufacturing, shipping, and
emissions from improper disposal of old building materials.
Despite several design constraints including difficulty establishing and sustaining
correspondence with suppliers, a dearth of nearby suppliers, suppliers not meeting aesthetic and
technical requirements, as well as time and budget constrains, our research has yielded a
successful final solution as well as promising alternative solutions. Because many suppliers are
moving towards recycled structures, it is possible to purchase several of the large playground
components directly from suppliers using high concentrations of recycled material. Other
components such as the trash receptacle and the fencing will be re-designed using the same
specifications that the New York Parks and Recreation Department uses with newer, recycled
materials. Moreover, other components such as the bench and the picnic table are already
manufactured out of 100% recycled materials. Several options exist for safety surfacing, which
can be produced fully from post-consumer materials. Various options are available for concrete,
all of which are especially environmentally friendly, reducing water runoff. Finally, the
environmental costs of disposal can be reduced through the employment of secondary materials
markets that purchase waste to recycle, and waste-to-energy plants.
"Parks Library." New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
21 Oct 2007 <http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_history/library/library.html>.
Playgrounds have long been a popular place for families to spend weekends and afternoons
exercising, relaxing, and enjoying the outdoors. Playground history parallels global history;
playgrounds proliferated after World War II because of the beginning of the “Baby Boomer” era
and became very colorful during the 1970’s when the hippie movement was in full swing. After
the first man walked on the moon, playground equipment began resembling spaceships and
rockets. Given these historical trends, it makes sense that, as society becomes more
environmentally friendly, playgrounds would also become more environmentally friendly.
In the 1970’s, as governments recognized the need to make recycling a dominant element in
society, a broad commitment was made to incorporate recycled materials into playgrounds when
available. Companies began using both recycled plastics and recycled steel. However, these
recycled materials did not have a very high recycled content, and, because being environmentally
friendly was not as much of a focus forty years ago, little research was invested into making the
playgrounds even more environmentally friendly. However, as society faces a looming energy
crisis and is bombarded with propaganda and documentaries like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient
Truth, parks departments across the nation are re-visiting the idea of implementing completely
Since it’s foundation in 1686, the New York City Parks and Recreation Department has created
over 29,000 acres of parks in the city3. Although the New York City Parks and Recreation
Department has always stressed bringing the environment to the big city, its initiates have not
always been environmentally friendly. Recently, the New York City Parks and Recreation
Department has emphasized the importance of environmentally conscious actions to the
community by actively searching for ways to integrate eco-friendly planning and sustainable
design into public facilities. Progressive steps include minimizing consumption of raw materials
and reducing emissions. New York City has established several sub organizations including
Greener New York to promote recycling within the community. These organizations frequently
hold events to raise environmental awareness. For example, this year, the New York City Parks
and Recreation Department organized a day following Christmas during which New Yorkers
recycled and converted their Christmas trees into wood chips at sixty-six different recycling
sites. One expert praised this initiative while remarking on the benefits of wood chips: “wood
chip mulch moderates soil temperatures, helps retain soil moisture, and deters weed growth
while slowly adding nutrients to the soil4.”
"Changes in Playground Equipment". 2005. Swingset Play. December 1 2007.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, 2007, Department of Parks & Recreation, Available:
http://www.nycgovparks.org, September 23 2007.
Loeser, Stu. "Mayor Bloomberg Announces Mulchfest 2007." News from the Blue Room (2007). October 21
Local governments have been increasing efforts to encourage green living. In 1989, Local Law
19, or the “New York City Recycling Law,” was enacted. It established the “policy of the city to
promote the recovery of materials from the New York City solid waste stream for the purpose of
recycling such materials and returning them to the economy.5” A whole sector of markets in the
economy now exists; these companies buy and sell secondary materials to recycle and reintegrate
into new goods. The table below (taken from the source referenced above) shows the developed
markets that operate for recycling secondary materials, proving the dominance of recycling
today. By contributing to recycling efforts, the devastating effects of less environmentally
friendly disposal methods can be reduced. For instance, “landfills are responsible for 36% of all
methane emissions in the US, one of the most potent causes of global warming.6” Recycling and
environmentally friendly disposal has since become an important element in the planning and
actions of the government, the economy, and the citizens of New York.
"Processing and Marketing Recyclables in New York City: Rethinking Economic, Historical, and Comparative
Assumptions." Recycling Economics. May 2004. NYC WasteLe$$ - NYC.gov. 2 Dec 2007
"Recycling Facts." Council on the Environment of New York City. 2007. CENYC. 2 Dec 2007
The quest for environmentally responsible features to implement into New York City parks
begins with hopes for an eco-friendly playground. Resources are limited, and landfills are
constantly increasing with waste products. In an effort to minimize consumption and reduce
emissions, New York City Parks and Recreation Department is seeking alternative ways to
design and dispose of playgrounds. It is currently pursuing these goals by both building new
playgrounds with recycled materials and replacing the old materials in existing playgrounds with
Formal Problem Statement
The New York City Parks and Recreation Department is committed to making New York a
greener place. It wants to go above and beyond stressing the importance of environmentally
conscious actions to the community by actively searching for ways to integrate eco-friendly
planning and sustainable design into public facilities. Progressive steps include minimizing
consumption of raw materials and reducing emissions.
Executing the power of leading by example, the New York City Parks and Recreation
Department plans to start off seeking alternative designs for playgrounds. Many materials
currently used to build playgrounds and other park equipment could be replaced with recycled or
low-impact materials. However, any environmentally friendly upgrades made must minimally
impact factors like budget, durability, and ease of installation.
The New York City Parks and Recreation Department can only achieve its goals with the
consent and support of New York’s citizens. The overwhelming presence of buildings in the city
creates a desire for the maintenance and preservation of green spaces. It is not only the origins of
the materials that go into the construction of playgrounds and the park area around them but a
variety of other factors. Also contributing to the environmental costs are the energy that is used
in reaping natural resources from the earth, the emissions from the collection and transportation
of the raw materials, the pollution caused during the manufacturing, refining process, and
transportation to the building site, as well as the efforts that go into disposing of previous
playgrounds. In addition to the environmental costs, we must consider economic costs because
of limited government funding. Moreover, we must keep in mind the satisfaction of the users –
the New York City community. While the team must design with these goals as its primary
purpose, it is necessary to comply with the engineering specifications for building a playground.
In order to solve the problem of the Parks Department, the team must integrate all of these
factors into a final design that meets all of the needs of the Department and the community.
Our design must fulfill several functional requirements to meet the high standards of New York
City’s public facilities. It must satisfy the expectations of functionality, physical performance,
safety, maintenance, life cycle, and human factors.
First and foremost, it must provide sufficient play equipment and a play area for children. In
addition to the swing set and main play structure, the design must include a safety surface on
which children can play without injury and fencing to partition the playground area from the
park walkways and the street. Additionally, it must provide amenities for other visitors to the
park, especially parents an guardians tending to the children playing at the playground. These
amenities include: park benches, trash receptacles, and possibly other components like water
fountains and picnic tables.
Besides the components of the existing playground that must be included in the design, there are
many physical requirements of our plan. First, the design must fit within the same boundaries as
the current playground, which is separated into two sections. The section that currently includes
the swing set is a 25-foot by 59-foot area (or 1,475 square feet). The section that currently
includes the play structure is a 25.5-foot by 89-foot area, with a 9-foot by 7.5-foot section that
connects the play area to the walkway (in total, a 2,337-foot area). The total playground’s square
footage is therefore 3812 square feet. This would require a total of 3099 square feet of safety
surface: 1162.5 square feet in the swing set area, and 1936.5 square feet in the playground
structure part of the playground. The safety surface must support falls from the maximum height
of the play equipment. It also requires 350 feet of fencing to outline the playground and separate
it from the walkway and the street. The fencing design along the street should be denser so as to
prevent children from slipping through the fence onto the street. The fencing design along the
walkway is simpler and is designed to partition the playground from the park rather than prevent
exit by children in the playground. Swinging gates to the playground are also a possibility to
further ensure the containment of small children in the playground. The play structure must be
built at least 6 feet away from the fencing to ensure ample playing space and to ensure the safety
of the children playing on the play equipment who could fall off of the structure.
The materials used in the construction of the playground and the surrounding area must be stable
in all weather conditions and all New York City temperatures. The stability of the structural
materials must be dependable also to ensure the safety of the playground users and park visitors.
For example, the playground equipment must have a sufficiently large maximum weight
capacity. All components of the playground must meet the safety standards and specifications
set by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. The playground must be safe for
both children (the intended users) and adults, to account for all unintended users. The
playground must have a useful life of around 15 years or more and require minimal playground
maintenance. Additionally, it is important to minimize installation time;; ideally it would take a
maximum of 6 months to re-build. Finally, disposal of the playground must be easy and quick;
old materials must be properly disposed of with minimal environmental impact.
It is essential that all of the team’s designs conform to the engineering specifications provided by
the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. This is important because of public safety
and legalities. In addition, all environmental regulations must be followed.
Finally, the playground and the park area surrounding it must be aesthetically pleasing to the
community. It must be resistant to vandalism; materials should not be easily flammable because
vandals may ignite playground components.
In designing a product to meet all of the design specifications, the design team had to overcome
several. It was difficult to achieve correspondence with company representatives who could
offer useful information, and it was challenging to find companies that suited all of the team’s
needs. Most companies that met the engineering and customer requirements were
inconveniently located, many of them on the West Coast. Selecting products from companies
like these would incur larger shipping costs and, more importantly, would cause pollution, as
materials would need to be shipped cross-country in diesel-run trucks. While these companies
may supply the recycled materials, products, or services solving the problem, the negative
environmental costs incurred in some cases outweigh the benefits. Finding comparable
competitors in closer proximity to New York City was challenging. In order to overcome this
problem, the team utilized more location-based filters when searching for possible suppliers and
looked into replacing specific materials and building the structure on site rather than ordering the
entire component. Fortunately, Mr. Linsalata, the team’s contact at the New York City Parks
and Recreation Department, assured the team that our priority was not to find specific companies
that provided what the team was looking for, but to find viable solutions for the playground
Another problem encountered relates to the space limitations of the New York City parks. The
average size of the New York City park is considerably smaller than that of parks in most other
cities in the United States. Consequently, the team must remain aware of suppliers who design
structures exceed the size requirements of the city’s parks. The problem can be countered by
seeking out more nearby suppliers that cater specifically to the New York City area. Because the
playground the team selected to redesign is among the smaller playgrounds in the city, the final
design should be easy to implement in any size playground.
Additionally, the team must adhere to aesthetical requirements of the New York Community in
redesigning the park. New Yorkers prefer playgrounds in brown and green earth tones to neon
plastics. Additionally, in the past, New Yorkers have rejected initiatives to replace wood with
recycled, plastic wood because it does not appear as aesthetically or economically valuable.
Consequently, the team must closely evaluate substitute materials, ensuring that they look similar
and are of comparable price to their raw counterparts.
Final Designs & Alternative Solutions
The final design for the Recycled Playground includes materials and components comprised
almost fully of recycled materials. The design solutions can be implemented with minimal
environmental impact; suppliers and contractors are located within close proximity of New York
City. Not only does the final solution have a low environmental impact, but it also was designed
with minimal monetary costs in mind. Additionally, the solution accounts for the importance of
aesthetics in New York City parks.
The original approach to design solutions was to find specific suppliers of the components
necessary for the playground. While this yielded success for certain components, it failed for
others. Rather than searching for specific products that suit the requirements of the project, the
team tried exploring materials solutions, replacing raw materials in current components with
more environmentally friendly alternatives. The two main research strategies allowed for the
compilation of research results with a variety of factors that contribute to making the playground
more environmentally friendly: manufacturing method, proximity of supplier to New York City,
and ease of disposal. The initial design comprised several different design concepts for each
component. As further analysis was conducted and benefits and costs were compared, the
alternative solutions were narrowed down into final solutions. Alternative solutions were chosen
based on their positive aspects and their negative aspects relative to the final design solutions.
Together, the different components make up the most optimal solution for a recycled
Maya models of all of the playground components and the overall playground areas are included
in the Additional Items section in the Appended Materials. The information below is organized
by playground component: first the final solution is presented, and next the alternative solutions
The most promising alternative for the main play structure is the Florence from
Progressive Playground Designs7. This structure is made from 95% by mass recycled
products. It measures 20 feet by 18 feet, and includes two slides, three “play tunnels,” a
tic-tac-toe board, and an underwater board. The components of this structure exceed the
performance standards of the New York City playgrounds, as the Florence encompasses
almost all of the components of the old playground while adding new items such as the
play tunnels. It is aesthetically pleasing; the supplier can customize the plastic colors
such that it follows the current park scheme of earth tones. The Florence costs $13,
385, which compared to the costs of other play structures seems very reasonable. The
only problem with the Florence is that it is manufactured in California and the company
is unwilling to relocate the manufacturing for quality control purposes.
In addition to the play structure design from Progressive Designs, the team found a play
structure from BigToys, Inc. Although this structure was similar to the chosen
Progressive Designs structure in many ways, it was lacking in a few important categories.
The BigToys’ MEC695 Haven is only made from 85%-90% recycled materials.
Additionally, the MEC695 Haven is smaller than the Florence and, therefore, does not
include as many challenging components for children to play on. As BigToys, Inc. is
located in Washington, the MEC695 Haven does not outweigh the Florence on ease of
shipping. In addition to using pre-made play design structures, the team considered the
possibility of replacing individual materials with recycled components. Like in the swing
set, it is possible to use the current designs and replace all of the steel components with
100% recycled steel. However, it might be more difficult to replace the surface
components of the play structure. Similarly, although plastic recycled wood is available,
after ordering several samples of recycled plastic from Engineered Plastics Systems, it
does not seem as though recycled plastic will meet our client’s the aesthetical
Progressive Design Playgrounds, http://www.pdplay.com/, 760-597-5991
The most promising swing set is the Tripod Swing from Progressive Playground Designs
in Oceanside, California. This design is almost identical to the design that the New York
City Parks and Recreation Department currently uses. It has four swings, and it is possible
to customize the swing sets with a variety of options including baby swings. At $1,555.00
per swing set it is one of the cheapest holistic designs available. Additionally, it is made
up of 80% recycled materials by weight. According to David Purcell, the National Sales
Manager at Progressive Playground Designs, the swing set will last many decades, which
exceeds the 15-year requirement given by the New York City Parks and Recreation
The swing set is primarily made from steel and other metal affixations. The best solution
for creating a recycled swing set would be to use the current swing set plans while
substituting recycled steels. Although the steel in the current playground has some
recycled content, as recycling plats are becoming more efficient, it has become possible to
increase the recycled content of the steel. After talking to experts at both the Steel
Recycling Institute and the American Institute of Steel Construction, we found that, today,
most steel is at least 25% recycled by mass. Today the electric furnace process of recycling
steel create steel that is up to 100% recycled and can be used for products including
structural beams, steel plates, and reinforcement bars. Unfortunately, after contacting
several local steel manufactures our team was unable to find a supplier willing to give our
team a reasonable estimate on this project and the team therefore cannot be sure that this is
a viable alternative..
There are several companies that create whole swing sets primarily out of recycled
materials. According to the owner of BigToys8, Tim Madeley, BigToys is in the process
of creating a new recycled swing set. However, this new swing set falls short of the
standards set by Progressive Designs; it will only include 58.3% recycled materials by
weight. This swing set will be almost identical to the swing set that the New York City
Parks and Recreation Department uses and will have six swings. These swings will be
fully customizable such that one could attach any sort of child or infant seat to individual
swings. The swing set will have a fifty-year guarantee and will cost just over $2,000.
After the swing set wears down and needs to be replaced, it could easily be recycled at a
scrap yard so that it will not create additional waste.
The fencing component of the playground is vital not only in the playground itself but the
whole park area. For consistency in aesthetics, fencing throughout the park should be the
same. Therefore, the best solution for fencing in the new playground would be to require
the same type of fencing constructed with a higher recycled content. Currently, the
fencing surrounding the playground is composed of two types of steel fences: the
decorative fence separating the playground from the street and the pipe rail fence
separating the playground from the park walkway. According to recycling and waste
organizations, metals can be recycled indefinitely while preserving all of their original
BigToys, Inc., http://www.bigtoys.com/, 866-814-8697
properties. Steel recycling in particular would be easy and environmentally friendly.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey conducted by the United States Department of
the Interior, “iron and steel comprise about 95% of all the tonnage of metal produced
annually in the United States and the world. On the average, iron and steel are by far the
least expensive of the world’s metals.” Also, “the re-melting of scrap [steel] requires
much less energy than the production of iron and steel products from iron ore.”9 Most
household goods such as food cans are made at least partially of steel. According to the
South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency, “every ton of recycled steel saves 2,500 lbs. of
iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal, and 120 lbs. of limestone.”10 The substitution alone of
recycled metals for virgin metals contributes greatly to environmental preservation.
Recycling steel for use in these fences would contribute greatly to resource preservation
and reduction in environmental impact. While complying aesthetically with the image of
the entire park, fences could still be constructed from recycled materials. The final
design solution for fencing would imitate the current fence and gate design. Fence
manufacturers are able to construct similar fencing out of 100% recycled steel. These
fences have minimal steel content, so they still do not deplete a substantial amount of
An alternative solution to the current fencing design would be different designs of
ornamental fencing also made from 100% recycled steel. More ornate patterns of fencing
could be used to border the playground. However, the more ornate the fencing, the
greater the amount of resources and energy depleted in the manufacturing process. Also,
certain designs of fencing may pose a hazard to the children in the playground especially
if they have sharp edges.
Another alternative would be to use other materials such as recycled aluminum.
Aluminum, like steel, has an infinite useful life. Only a 5% of the energy required to
produce new aluminum is needed to produce aluminum from recycled material, and using
recycled aluminum rather than raw materials reduces air pollution by 95% and water
pollution by 97%.11 Post-consumer aluminum is also easily accessible. However, steel is
stronger than aluminum and would be more appropriate for playground use.
Another alternative solution is plastic lumber, which has the appearance of wood and is
extremely durable and low-maintenance. Plastic lumber, unlike wood, is also resistant to
decay, splintering, and graffiti vandalism. It can contain as much as 100% post-consumer
plastic. While it tends to be more expensive than wood, it has an approximate lifespan of
up to 50 years, while wood needs to be replaced quite frequently. The downside of using
plastic lumber for the construction of fencing is that visually, plastic lumber is not as
aesthetically pleasing in decorative fencing panels. While plastic lumber does not offer as
aesthetically consistent a solution as recycled aluminum or steel, it can be used in other
applications such as park benches and playground equipment.
"Iron and Steel Scrap Statistics and Information." USGS: Science for a Changing World. 11 Oct 2007. U.S. Geological
Survey. 19 Oct 2007 <http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/iron_&_steel_scrap/>.
"About Recyclables." SCISWA. South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency. 19 Oct 2007
Henson, Toy. "Metal Answers The Call for More "Green" Roof, Wall Systems." The Metal Initiative. The Metal Initiative.
18 Oct 2007 <http://www.themetalinitiative.com/content/about_us/>.
While several suppliers do exist for the different types of fencing, selecting a fence is not
supplier-specific because manufacturers can customize fencing to fit the requirements of
the Parks Department. An example of a recommended fence manufacturer complying
with the final solution for fencing is Boundary Fence & Railing Systems Inc12 located in
Richmond Hill, NY. A suitable option would be the Esquire style Steel Fence Panel: 350
linear feet of 3-by-6 foot panels and two double 3-by-8 foot gates in style #101.
In order to comply with the engineering specifications provided by the Parks Department,
the trash receptacles in the new playground must be constructed from hot dipped
galvanized steel wire mesh. It is important that the trash receptacle has reinforcement
bands at the top and bottom and vertical braces spaced around the perimeter supported by
horizontal interlocking rings, as well as drain outlets at the base. The shape of the
receptacle should be tapered to allow for stacking. Many varieties of this type of trash
receptacle are available on the market. The final solution for the trash receptacle would
be a wire mesh receptacle ranging from 32 to 48 gallons in capacity. This receptacle
would be environmentally friendly because it would be made from 100% recycled steel,
and manufactured nearby, so the environmental costs of shipping would be small.
Purchasing in bulk and selling disposable trash receptacles to scrap and steel mills could
reduce monetary costs. An example could be found from the manufacturer United
Receptacle13 located in Pennsylvania: the Galvanized Steel United Receptacle Street
Basket Model UN-SBR52.
Trash receptacles with greater aesthetic value are available in recycled materials,
however, because these do not comply with the specifications of the Parks Department,
they are suitable not as a final design solution but as alternatives. One alternative would
similarly be constructed from 100% recycled steel wire mesh; except it would also be
coated with 100% recycled plastic. The plastic would make the trash receptacle more
visually appealing and the color of the plastic could be coordinated with the colors of the
playground. However, the plastic coating the trash receptacle is flammable and not as
resistant to vandalism as a purely receptacle. This type of trash receptacle can be found
from the Cedar Store14; the 45 Gallon Wire Mesh Waste Receptacle.
Unlike the above tapered trash receptacles, other alternatives do not allow for easy
transportation, storage, and trash disposal. Another alternative is a recycled steel trash
receptacle made from vertical steel slats rather than wire mesh. However, they require
the use of much more steel than the wire mesh wastebaskets, and therefore would require
the use of more energy and materials to manufacture and transport. This type of trash
receptacle also requires plastic trash bags, which are not environmentally friendly, and is
not as resistant to vandalism. They also require paint. While paint improves the look of
Boundary Fence & Railing Systems Inc., http://www.boundary-fences.com/, 1800-628-8928
United Receptacle, http://www.unitedrecept.com/, 560-622-7715
The Cedar Store, http://www.cedarstore.com/detail.aspx?ID=1792, 1-888-293-2339
the trash receptacle, it requires the use of more energy and resources, and increased
maintenance and upkeep. An example of this type of trash receptacle can be found from
Trash Cans and More15; the Witt WC3600 Stadium Series Wydman Collection 36 Gallon
A third alternative solution would be a trash receptacle made from recycled plastic
lumber. One hundred percent post-consumer recycled plastic rash receptacles are easily
available and come in a variety of colors and styles. While they would be extremely long
lasting, they are more prone to vandalism and less convenient for public safety. They
also cost a few times the price of a wire mesh wastebasket, and are inconvenient for trash
disposal. When the New York Sanitation Department workers empty park trash
receptacles, they efficiently drive along the pedestrian path and empty the contents of
each receptacle into the truck, without the use of plastic garbage bags. However, with
plastic lumber trash receptacles, the workers would not be able to lift the entire receptacle
to dump its contents, making the process more long and difficult and further polluting the
environment. An example of this type of trash receptacle can be found from Pilot
Rock16’s Trash and Recycling Receptacles from the TRH series.
According to building specifications for safety surface, the New York City Parks and
Recreation Department prefers to use mostly wood fiber and some recycled components
such as recycled plastic lumber. Safety surface should be designed to hamper any
possible injuries. For aesthetic consistency in the playground, it should have well-
matched colors to the rest of the playground’s components. According to statistics, nearly
70% of the injuries are related to falls to the surface. To lower these statistics, the safety
surface must be of appropriate depth of safety surface relative to the heights of the other
While researching safety surface materials, the team discovered several recycled product
options with different properties. The new playground will feature rubber mulch, which is
the newest replacement for wood chips. It is made of 100% tire buffing. It helps to
reduce the waste produced by millions of car tires each year. Tire stocks from this waste
are vulnerable to fire which causes enormous air pollution.18 In 2001, 281 million scrap
tires were generated and 218 million were recycled.19 Very little maintenance is needed
for rubber mulch, the cost is low, and installation is easy. It is nontoxic and will not
decay; it is weatherproof and can be used in a large range of conditions. In addition, it is
anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which makes it a perfect material for young children. It
won’t harbor or feed insects. It is also heavy and will not blow away in intense wind. It
comes in a diverse array of natural colors and maintains its fresh look for a long time,
Trash Cans and More, CSN Stores, http://www.trashcansandmore.com/Witt-WC3600-WTT1001.html, 800-675-3981
Pilot Rock, R.J. Thomas Manufacturing Co., Inc., http://www.pilotrock.com/trash_recycling/trh_series.htm, 712-225-5115
"Fall Surfacing." National Program for Playground Safety. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://www.uni.edu/playground/safe/fall.htm>.
"Premium Mulch Rubber." Rubber-Cal. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://rubbercal.com/Mulch_Rubber.html>.
Stutz, John, Sarah Donahue, Erica Mintzer, and Amy Cotter. "Recycled Rubber Products in Landscaping Applications." Tellus
Institute. 12 May 2003. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/green/pubs/rubber.pdf>.
contributing to the aesthetics the community expects. 20According to experiments by the
“Rubber Mulch” company, recycled rubber has the most shock absorption capacity for
falls. Plus according to the pricing of the competitor materials, rubber mulch is one of the
cheapest safety surfaces available in the market. According to Rita Lacey, managing
member of Close the Loop, LLC, when rubber mulch wears down, it can be re-cycled,
donated or group up again and remanufactured. She also stated that instillation can be
done by anyone since it is very basic. The most promising product is PermaLife
SoftStuff™, which is offered by DFS LLC Company. The company is the distributor of
PermaLife SoftStuff™ for New York and New Jersey.21 It sells rubber mulch in packages
of 2000 pounds as a Super Sac Bag which Covers 250 square feet at a 4 foot depth, or a
1000 pound Super Sac Bag that covers 125 square feet at 4 foot depth. The company
offers 5-year warranty. In order to cover up the entire playground, 12 packages of 2000-
pound Super Sac Bag and 1 package of 1000 pound Super Sac Bag should be purchased.
Based on current design specifications provided by the New York City Parks and
Recreation Department and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Handbook
for Public Playground Safety, the depth of the rubber mulch should be adjusted according
to the height of the playground structure and the use zone should extend a minimum of 6
feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment. AutoCAD models provided in
the Appendix show the current dimensions and square footage of safety surface in the
playground; this area remains the same in the final design. Beneath the safety surface,
Rubber Mulch, there should be a hard and strong layer of concrete to endure the weight
of the playground. The best solution for this layer beneath the rubber mulch is recycled
concrete, the next component discussed.
An alternative solution for the rubber mulch in the safety surface is rubber tiles. Close the
Loop, LLC, a supplier of rubber tiles, is located in Philadelphia and is willing to ship the
product to New York City. Rubber tiles are resilient so they have a long life and require
low maintenance. Therefore they can endure many years without being damaged. Rubber
tiles allow water to pass through the material so puddles don’t form on the product,
causing children to get wet. Ramps and corners are available which make it easier for
disabled children to access the play area. Rubber tiles are available in as many different
colors as rubber mulch, so a color can be selected that is in harmony with the other
components. When rubber tiles are damaged, they can be easily replaced. However, they
are more expansive than rubber mulch. Also according to Rita Lacey, managing member
of Close the Loop, LLC, the instillation of rubber tiles is more involved and costs more
than rubber mulch. They also have superior shock absorption22. The National Program for
Playground Safety recommends rubber tiles for children’s safety.23 “The 2 ½" thicknesses
are used most frequently, both indoors and outdoors. When installed over concrete or
asphalt, it has a drop height rating of 6 ft.; the 3-½" thickness is used for an 8 ft. drop-
"Loose Fill Rubber Mulch." Rubber Trails And Surfaces. 22 Oct. 2007
"Playground Mulch." NewYorkRubberMulch.Com. 3 Dec. 2007
"Tiger Tuff Tiles." Rubber Trails And Surfaces. 22 Oct. 2007
"Fall Surfacing." National Program for Playground Safety. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://www.uni.edu/playground/safe/fall.htm>.
height over concrete, and the 3 ¾" thickness is used for a 10 ft. drop-height.”24The price
for 2-½” thickness is $6.95 per square foot25. Rubber tiles tend to have a higher initial
cost but a lower maintenance cost.
Another alternative solution is recycling of the existing rubber used in the safety surface
currently existing in the playground. Several firms exist that take the worn out rubber
and recycle them into new safety surfaces. While this is just as effective as the prior
solutions in utilizing safety surface with high recycled content, the process takes longer
since the new playground can only be installed after the old safety surface is recycled and
reprocessed into new safety surface.
The concrete that serves as the base of the playground is another important material to be
considered in the playground design. While most of it is covered by the safety surface,
its aesthetics are still important. Therefore, the final solution would be permeable
interlocking concrete pavers. These hexagonal pavers are visually similar to the current
pavers throughout the park, a more aesthetically pleasing choice over poured concrete or
gravel. In addition, they are environmentally friendly because their interlocking shapes
with either notched corners or enlarged joints allow for water infiltration, reducing water
runoff into storm sewers and allowing for water flow into surrounding soil, enhancing
landscaping and irrigation. Pavers are easy to install and have both low monetary and
environmental costs. Also, used concrete can be recycled and used as filler, “sub-base”
or “aggregate-base” gravel underneath new concrete groundcover. The recommended
permeable concrete pavers above can be found from Uni-Group26: UNI Eco-Stone
interlocking permeable cement pavers.
An alternative solution that is not as visually appealing but just as environmentally
friendly is pervious concrete pavement. While this type of concrete appears rough,
chunky, and unfinished in comparison to concrete pavers, it also allows for the reduction
of water runoff. The pervious concrete has air pockets that allow rainwater to pass right
through and percolate the ground. In addition, recycled concrete can be used as filler
when installing pervious concrete. Concrete is also a more optimal choice because
asphalt pavements, which require chemical sealants, release hydrocarbons with water
runoff. Pervious concrete pavement can be found from a company like Burns & Sons
An integral, but often overlooked component of a playground is the picnic table. The
picnic table provides opportunity for parents and guardians to watch over their children
"Kid Kushion Playground Tile." Playground Safety Surface. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://www.floorscore.com/playground/>.
"Kids Kushion Playground Safety Tile." Greatmats. 22 Oct. 2007 <http://www.greatmats.com/products/kids-kushion-
UNI-GROUP U.S.A., http://www.uni-groupusa.org/, 800-872-1864
Burns & Sons Concrete, Inc., http://www.perviouspavement.com/, 772-260-3726
playing, as well as a resting area for children who are taking a break from their activities.
The bench component is designed to hold the weight of three adults, but also must be
designed such that the table portion is able to hold similar weight, since kids and adults
often sit on the table portion of the picnic table instead. Currently, according to design
specifications from the Parks and Recreation Department, the typical New York City
picnic table is made from 80% post-consumer recycled plastic, a 70% high-density
polyethylene, and a total recycled content of 90%. New York City Parks and Recreation
currently employs All City Play Equipment28, located in Brooklyn, NY, or A&T Iron
Works Corp.29, located in New Rochelle, NY. Although these material guidelines are
well aligned with the New York City Parks and Recreation Department’s goals, the team
has contacted many suppliers and has found companies that manufacture picnic tables
entirely out of recycled plastic. One promising solution is Allen Ventures Inc.’s 166
Series Picnic Table that matches the NYC Parks and Recreation Department’s
specifications. The table’s components are composed of galvanized and powder coated
steel tubular supports that match the given standards. The table is aesthetically pleasing
and comes in different colors of plastic, which can be matched with the overall color
scheme of the playground. The price is competitive and ranges from $499 to $639 based
upon quantity purchased. An important problem with this design is that the company is
located in Deerfield, WI, which would make transportation and routine maintenance
difficult and increase the environmental damage due to shipping. Other firms located
around the New York City greater area have also been contacted, but did not offer a
product that was comparable in quality without compromising other specifications
deemed mandatory by NYC Parks. Currently, the status quo is very effective, and most of
the alternative solutions investigated were less practical or were not as strong of options
as what the Parks Department currently uses, however, Allen Ventures Inc provided the
This option is more resistant to vandalism because carving and graffiti a plastic lumber
table is difficult, and if it is achieved will only result in flaking of the plastic, not
permanent damage. The hot-dip galvanized finish also aligns with the design goals,
because it enables the table to withstand harsh climates, and wear and tear of snow, rain,
and being moved around frequently. This in turn increases durability and the life of the
product. Other solutions that were considered but deemed unsuitable were recycled
wood, aluminum, and concrete, but all these three materials were not found with higher
recycled content, and would tend to chip, decay, and would be uncomfortable to sit on.
The recycled plastic bench from Allen Ventures, is designed with a curved bottom, and a
slide-in entry, such that it is easy for a user to slide into and out of the bench, and also
move around easily, adding to the practicality of the solution.
Alternative solutions for the picnic table one that is moveable rather than fixed. The
moveable picnic table would be convenient during construction, and could adapt to
playground redesigns easily. All City Play Equipment located in Brooklyn provides 80-
90% post-consumer recycled plastic picnic tables for both moveable and fixed options.
All City Play Equipment, Inc., 732-952-5864
A&T Iron Works, Inc., http://www.atironworks.com/, 800-523-0973
Although this company uses a lower recycled content, its close location is a great benefit
to the convenience of transportation and maintenance. Most of the companies who use
entirely recycled content in their picnic tables are located farther away, but All City Play
Equipment provides one of the best options for a local supplier. Another possible solution
is to use recycled steel rather than recycled plastic or lumber, however, this option would
be more expensive.
Since children use playgrounds under parent supervision, park benches typically
complement playgrounds. Their popular aesthetic appeal features decorative legs and
slats that look like wood. Currently in New York City parks, the standard park bench
already has reinforced recycled plastic lumber bench slats. Design specifications require
that bench slats be fabricated from a minimum ninety percent post consumer recycled
high-density polyethylene. However, outdoor furnishing manufacturers are now
developing park benches with slats comprised entirely of recycled plastic lumber. One
such design, “Georgetown Bench” as manufactured by American Recycled Plastics,
Inc.30, resembles the aesthetic appeal of current New York City park benches.
Additionally, the “Georgetown Bench” incorporates recycled aluminum for back and seat
supports and cross bars. Implementing American Recycled Plastics, Inc.’s Georgetown
Bench would optimize the recycled content in benches while still maintaining the overall
aesthetics of parks.
The goal of preserving current aesthetics severely limits alternative solutions for park
benches. Unlike the decorative, antique appeal of current benches in New York City
parks, most designs for benches made of recycled materials tend toward modern or
plainly geometric. Searching for a bench comprised of fully recycled plastic lumber for
slats and recycled steel for legs, rather than recycled aluminum would be an ideal option
since New York City park bench specifications currently require steel.
A solution to the disposal of old playgrounds exists that would significantly reduce
environmental damage while benefiting society. The current standard for disposal of
waste is transportation to landfills, a severe environmental devastation. Because there are
no longer any landfills in New York City, the monetary and environmental costs of waste
export are great. A primary solution to this would be to sort out the disposable materials
from the old playground into metals, wood, and plastic. These materials could be
shipped to nearby scrap and recycling mills that buy back scrap materials. This solution
would not just contribute to recycling but would also provide funding for the new
playground. For instance, a company like Ontario Recycling Inc.31 purchases high-
density polyethylene for $0.26 per pound and metals for $110.00 per ton. Other
companies specifically purchase rubber from safety surfacing to recycle and grind up into
American Recycled Plastic, Inc., http://www.itsrecycled.com/, 866-674-1525
Ontario Recycling Inc., Rochester, New York, 14611, 585-328-4253, www.ontariorecycling.com
new rubber mulch. Even if rubber mulch is not reprocessed for use in future public
playgrounds, it can be removed and reutilized “in a different manner in a new location –
perhaps in a backyard playground or as part of a landscape project…[reflecting] the
remarkable versatility and environmental compatibility” of rubber mulch32. Companies
also exist that recycle concrete, crushing used concrete into reusable pieces for future
construction. Recycling concrete eliminates the monetary cost of disposal, which is $100
per ton, as well as the environmental cost of disposal. According to “The Concrete
Network”’ recycling concrete is a simple process which involves breaking, removing and
crushing of concrete33. Also advance in technology made recycling the concrete
economical in the recent years.
To dispose of the materials that cannot be recycled, a better method of disposal than
landfills would be waste-to-energy plants. These plants convert garbage into energy,
lower the cost of electricity, and reduce the need to dump garbage into landfills. Not only
is it cheaper, but also it produces energy, reducing the need for coal and oil, while
reducing the emissions and pollution resulting from dumping waste in landfills. There
are also several waste-to-energy sites that are located much closer to New York City than
surrounding landfill sites. The closest site is the Essex County Incinerator located in
Newark, New Jersey, just 24 miles away. Waste-to-energy offers an efficient and
environmentally helpful solution to the city’s waste disposal needs.
While the research for each component was done individually among the group, each member
contributed input into selecting the final solutions for each component. The components selected
together coordinate effectively into an overall environmentally friendly and aesthetically
valuable playground. The group also chose alternative design solutions that would serve as
effective substitutes if the final solutions were not to be chosen. Any combination of these
solutions would come together as a viable substitute for previous playgrounds. However, the
components that the group selected as the primary solutions come together to be the best solution
to the Park Department’s problem. While materials may change, recycling methods may
progress, and companies may become greener, this is the optimal solution based on the current
market. Future research may be done to improve the solutions as society as a whole starts to
embark on a more environmentally friendly future.
Transition Plans and User Documentation
Although several other Gateway projects have worked with the New York City Parks and
Recreation Department, our project is the first to look at the playground from an environmentally
friendly perspective. If another group were to expand on this project, it would simply need to
continue researching suppliers and manufacturers of alternative playground materials. Although
our group feels confident that we came up with the best solution existing today, if another group
re-evaluated the problem in six months or a year, the manufacturers would likely have come out
with new, more environmentally friendly products.
JJV Rubber Mulch & Safety Surfacing, Inc., http://www.jjvrubbermulchusa.com, 651-222-8321
"Recycling Concrete." Concrete Network. 22 Oct. 2007
Many Gateway groups work with the New York City Parks and Recreation Department every
semester. This Department encompasses a broad range of community services and facilities.
Because there are so many branches and project advisors within the greater umbrella of the New
York City Parks and Recreation Department, our experience working with the Parks Department
is not necessarily applicable to other groups.
Because our project was primarily research based, it would be very easy to duplicate our project
for another client. The only factor that another group would have to confirm before using our
holistic solution is that the playgrounds that they are redesigning are of comparable size to the
playground that was redesigned for the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. If
another design team would be to duplicate our research and design process, it could look to our
Gantt Chart in the appendix for a detailed schedule of our progress and deliverables. The basic
process includes the following steps: identifying a playground to redesign, listing the key
components to research, compiling background research, contacting materials and component
manufacturers and suppliers, comparing potential solutions, and selecting the final design
solutions. Important documentation to consider during this process includes product design
specifications, a budget worksheet, and customer and engineering requirements. Important
reference materials that the design team should attain are the design plan and engineering
specifications for specific components provided by the Parks Department.
Although our design is innovative, it would not qualify for a patent. Rather than redesigning
new playground components, the team’s assignment was to research and compiled both a list of
suppliers who already produce those components and solutions to alternative materials. This
project saved the New York City Parks and Recreation Department time and manpower; all the
New York City Parks and Recreation Department now needs to do is call the suggested suppliers
and order the parts needed since our group put so much time and effort into background research.
Consequently, as our team is suggesting a combination of other companies’ patented designs, the
final design would not be eligible to apply for a patent.
Product Design Specifications
In Use Purposes and Market
To design a new playground that will minimize harmful environmental impact by
construction from recycled materials.
Predictable unintended uses
Age-inappropriate users: While playground is aimed towards children up to 5
years in age, must accommodate for older users.
Higher recycled content.
Less environmental impact due to depletion of natural resources, emissions,
energy consumption, pollution, improper disposal of old materials.
There will be competition among the suppliers of the different components and
they will compete against current suppliers who produce some playground
equipment but not all of the components of a playground out of recycled
There will be competition between different consultants to design playgrounds
that are most efficient and aesthetically pleasing, as well as competition between
different cities’ parks departments to create the “greenest” city parks system.
We are designing for the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, but
these designs are to be implemented for use by the citizens of New York City who
use city’s playgrounds and the park area around them. New York City currently
has over 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities34.
Need for product
Playgrounds have a finite usable life and need to be replaced periodically.
Because New York City has such a huge quantity of playgrounds, replacements
are constantly needed. As an industrialized city that contributes immensely to
pollution and environmental damage, New York City is seeking ways to continue
providing public facilities to its citizens while minimizing its impact on the
environment. In such a large metropolitan area, the need for green areas of open
space is magnified.
Relationship of product to other company products
This product is to be designed by a team from Columbia University, not a
"Frequently Asked Questions." New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. New York City Department of Parks
& Recreation. 18 Oct 2007 <http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_faqs/park_faqs.html#g1>.
The typical lifespan of a playground in New York City is 15 years (within a range
of 10-20 years). Replacements will need to be installed very frequently
throughout the city.
Provides sufficient play equipment and area for children.
Provides space and amenities for park visitors to rest and tend to children playing
at the playground.
Includes safety surface on which children can play without injury, fencing to
partition the playground from the park walkways, park benches, swing set, play
structure, and other components such as picnic tables and water fountain.
Same size as current playground which is separated into two sections: 25’ x 59’
and 25’6” x 89’ with connecting section 9’ x 7’6”.
Provides similar or improved play structure and amenities.
Play structure must be at least 6 feet away from fence.
All materials used in the construction of the playground and surrounding area
itself must be stable in all weather conditions and all New York City
Playground must have useful life of around 15 years or more.
Playground safety must be reliable.
Playground maintenance must be both regular and minimally needed.
Installation time must be short, with a typical minimum of 3 months and
maximum of 6 months.
Disposal of old playground must be easy and short, and old materials must be
properly disposable with minimum environmental impact.
Playground and park area surrounding it must be aesthetically pleasing to the
Playground must suit user needs.
All playground equipment and surrounding components must be safe to children
Safety surface must support falls from maximum height of play equipment.
Playground equipment must have sufficiently large maximum weight capacity.
Constraints and Standards
Design must be complete within the fall semester.
Manufacturers and suppliers must be within close range of New York City.
Specific suppliers legally cannot be designated because contractors and suppliers
are found by open competitive bidding.
Social, Political, and Legal Requirements
Safety regulations must be met according to current building specifications
provided by New York City Parks and Recreation Department.
Environmental regulations must be met.
Any necessary patents used in design must be noted.
The approximate budget for the playground is $70,978.36. This is lower than
both the original budget of $150,000 for Tot Lot #4 when it was built in 1995 and
the upper limit of $500,000 that our community partner, Erik Linsalata, provided
Research was conducted on material, manufacture, transportation, and installation
pricing; prices are only approximations because it is illegal for the New York City
Parks and Recreation Department to designate suppliers who will be chosen
through an open competitive bidding process.
Mapping of Customer and Engineering Requirements
Requirements Engineering Requirements Justification/Rationale
Includes play equipment, space, and
amenities for park visitors, 350 feet of
fencing to partition the playground from
the park walkways and the street, 9 park
benches within the playground. 2000 sq ft
of safety surfacing is needed on the floor
within the boundaries of fences. Must be
the same size as the current playground
with two main sections: 25' x 29' and 25'6"
x 89' with partial section 9' x 7'6". The
main play area will have a play structure
including components such as a slide,
climbing equipment, and monkey bars. Based on examination and
The partial play section will include an 8’ measurements of existing
2 high swing set with 5 swings on it. playground
Must have a playground structure that
includes components such as a slide,
climbing equipment, and monkey bars.
Based on quotes from playground design
companies, it will cost us approximately
$13,000 for the structure, $6,000 to install, Based on current plans
$3,000 for the shipping, and $3,000 for given to us by our
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 disposal. community contact.
Must have a swing set in the playground.
The swing set will measure 8’ high, and
will have five swings on it. It will cost Based on current plans
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, approximately $2,000 for the swing set, given to us by our
7, 8, 9 $1,000 to install, and $1,000 for shipping. community contact.
Equipment meets all building
specifications. These include, but are not
limited to maximum heights for the play Based on technical
structures minimal environmental impacts, specifications on
and the safety surface being thick enough components provided by
to support falls from the maximum height Parks and Recreation
8 of the play equipment. Department
Based on examination of
existing playground and
technical specifications on
building plan provided by
Play structure must be at least 6 feet away Parks and Recreation
2, 8 from fence Department
Materials used in construction of the
playground and the surrounding area must Based on the requirements
be stable in all weather conditions and of the New York City
3, 5 New York City temperatures. environment
Picnic Table Requirements: minimum
recycled content should be 90%, at least
70% high density polyethylene, materials
other than polyolefins not exceeding 5%,
and a maximum density of 45 lb/ft^3.
Ultimate flexural strength of at least 2500 Based on current design
lb-in flatwise, and flexural stiffness of at specifications given to us by
2,3,8 least 85,000 lb-in^2 flatwise. our community contact
Bench Material Requirements: Tensile
strength of bench standards must meet
minimum of 65,00 psi. Bench slats must
meet the following requirements:
minimum of 90% recycled content,
minimum of 96% high density
polyethylene, maximum of 4% materials Based on current design
other than polyolefins, and minimum specifications given to us by
2,3,8 density of .025 lbs./in. our community contact.
Trash Receptacle Material Requirements:
Manufactured from hot dipped galvanized
wire mesh with reinforcement bands at top
and bottom. Bottom pan should have
drain outlet for liquid waste. Vertical
braces must be evenly spaced around the
perimeter and supported with horizontal
interlocking rings for added strength. Based on engineering
Must be tapered to permit stacking for specifications provided by
storage and transportation. Should not be New York City Parks and
3, 5 manufactured with steel I.D. plates. (The Recreation Department.
product specifications should be equal or
close to the following values)
Capacity of 32-36 gal., Weight of 28 lbs.,
Wire Gauge of 10, Height of 28”, Top
Diameter of 21”, Bottom Diameter of
17.5”. Chain and “S” Hooks may be
required to secure receptacle to stationary
Fencing Material Requirements:
Guide Rail should be “W” beam type,
corrugated 13’-6” in length. Posts should
be standard weight, 5’-6” in length.
Minimum yield point and elongation of
the steel should be 50,000 psi and 22% in
2” gauge length. All rails shall be made
from open hearth or electric furnace No.
12 gauge (nominal thickness 0.105 inches
- 0.009 inch tolerance) or heavier steel
plates. Finished beam should be shaped so
that it is not less than 12” wide and 3”
deep. Manufacturer’s tolerance for width
and depth should be -1/8”. All bolts, nuts,
and washers should be galvanized by the
hot dip process to conform to A.S.T.M.
specifications A-153. The heads of splice Based on engineering
bolts should be shallow, button-type, specifications provided by
neatly rounded to provide minimum New York City Parks and
3, 5 obstruction. Recreation Department.
Playground must have useful life of Based on existing
5 around 15 years or more playground life spans
Inspections and subsequent maintenance
should not be necessary more than two Based on current inspection
6 times per year schedule
Short installation time ranging from 3 to 6 Based on current installation
7 months time
Disposal must be easy and disposal time
must be brief; minimal environmental
impact by disposal through waste to
energy sites rather than landfills. Ideally,
we would be able to use components from
4, 11, 15 the old playground in our new playground. Based on disposal research
Must be as aesthetically appealing as
1, 3 current playgrounds
To reduce emissions and
Material suppliers must be within close pollution due to
4, 9 range of New York City. transportation time and
means of transportation
Concrete Material Requirements:
Concrete shall conform to N.Y.C Dept Of
Transportation class B-32, Type II A, air
entrained, moderate, sulfate resistant. The
batch shall contain a minimum of six bas
of cement per cubic yard of concrete,
maximum of 6½ gallons of water per bag,
maximum of three-inch slump, and
compressive strength of 3200psi. Large
aggregate shall be limited to one inch.
Immediately after removing forms, cut
back all the form ties, wet and fill all voids
and honeycombing with mortar, 2:1 mix. Based on current design
The concrete surface shall be rubbed specifications provided by
smooth with carborundum bricks to the the New York City Parks
3,5 satisfaction of the Engineer. and Recreation Department.
Installation of Concrete:
Interlocking concrete pavers require a soil
subgrade, aggregate base, sand bedding
layer, and concrete paver surface. Any
unsuitable or unstable materials must be
excavated before compacting the soil
subgrade. Compaction should be at least
95% Proctor density (per ASTM D 698).
Aggregate base must also be compacted to
minimize settlement of the pavement
surface. Sand level should be at an even 1-
1.5 inch thickness. Bedding sand must not
be used to fill any depressions in base
material. After pavers are installed in
pattern, they should be compacted into the Based on installation
bedding sand with a plate compactor guidelines provided by
capable of exerting a minimum force of paver supplier, Uni-Group
3,5 5,000 lb and frequency of 75-100 Hz. U.S.A.
Safety Surface Requirements:
Use zone should extend in all directions Based on current design
from the perimeter of the equipment. The specifications provided by
distance from the highest point of the the New York City Parks
sliding surface in inches should equal to and Recreation Department
the safety surface distance in front of the and the U.S. Consumer
slide. For stationary equipments excluding Product Safety
slide, The use zone should extend a Commission’s Handbook
minimum of 6 feet in all directions from for Public Playground
3,5 the perimeter of the equipment. The Safety.
Impact Testing Report recommends a 6"
depth for a critical height of 10ft.
Based on correspondence
Should fall within budget; upper limit with representative of New
provided by New York City Parks and York City Parks and
10, 12 Recreation Department = $500,000 Recreation Department
1 Should be aesthetically pleasing to community
Should meet all functional requirements of a
Should meet New York City's exceptionally high
3 performance standards
4 Should have low environmental impact
5 Should be durable and long-lasting
6 Should require low maintenance
Should require minimum park shut down period for
8 Should meet safety standards
Should include materials that are easily attained with
9 short shipping times
10 Should include inexpensive materials
11 Should reduce emissions
12 Should be economical
13 Should be easy to install
14 Should be resistant to vandalism
15 Should be easily disposed of with minimal impact
Budget Estimates and Material Lists
The following budget worksheet includes the exact quantities of materials, components, and
costs of the final design solution. Because the client specified that budget was not the focus of
the project (rather, the environmental impact of the team’s design was the purpose), wish
features would include choosing more complex designs of component that would require the use
of additional materials. However, while these wish features might be more aesthetically
pleasing, they may not be the most environmentally friendly choices. Therefore, we did not
include the addition of wish features in the budget because these detract from the purpose of our
project and reduce its environmentally friendly factor. (The budget worksheet is shown on the
following two pages.)
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The following AutoCAD models show the dimensions (to scale) of the current playground, Tot
Lot #4. All values shown are measured in feet. These models served as guidelines for the final
design, which is planned within these borders. The AutoCAD models also show the borders of
the playground, which can be outlined by fencing. The team had the freedom to choose where
the openings or gates in the fencing lie, and their respective dimensions. All playground
components were designed to be a sufficient distance from the fencing. Also, the dimensions of
the safety surface were designed based on these dimensions. While the playground components
may be rearranged, these dimensions must stay the same.
Area = 1475 square ft.
Current Fencing Footage = 143 ft.
Riverside Park Walkway
Area = 2337 square ft
Current Fencing Footage: 205 ft.
Riverside Park Walkway
The following AutoCAD models show the current dimensions of the safety surface in Tot Lot
#4. The safety surface in the final design remains within the constraints of the playground area
as outlined in the previous AutoCAD models. The current safety surface does not cover all of
the ground in each playground area (the swing set area and the play structure area). These
AutoCADs show the exact measurements of the safety surface dimensions as well as their
current square footage. This information was useful in both our design plans and our price
Swing set Area
Area = 1162.5 square ft.
Play Structure Area
Area = 1936.5 square ft.
The following screenshots show pictures of the Maya Rendered Models of the Final
Solution for the playground. They are sorted according to the components discussed in the
Final Solutions section. Also included are screenshots of the two whole areas of the
Post and Rail Fence
Overall Swing Set Area
Overall Play Structure Area