This “risky” new playground is a work of art

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Hewson is also behind Pockets Park in Leichhardt, Sydney. Credit: Mike Hewson

The confusion of these meanings has resulted in a cultural attitude towards gambling that is very risk averse.

This risk aversion contrasts with the growing body of research on the benefits of risk for children.

Risk aversion can have long-term health implications in adolescence and adulthood, potentially impacting the development of anxiety, depression, obesity, and diabetes.

In fact, researchers Jonathan Haidt and Pamela Paresky suggest that contemporary society “pampers” children. The risk of non-risk is a matter of resilience – not only physical but also, perhaps more importantly, psychological.

Psychological resilience is the ability to adapt in the face of tragedy, trauma, adversity, threats or significant stress. Simply put, resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from difficult experiences.

Based on this premise, Hewson’s “risky” sculptural play environments can strengthen, fortify, and increase psychological resilience in children.

Unlike the conventional playground where movement is predetermined, Hewson’s projects offer children the opportunity to explore unknown, unscripted, innovative and playable sculptural worlds.

When given the chance, even very young children show obvious abilities to negotiate unfamiliar spaces, manage risk and determine their own limits.

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