Heartlands, Pool – Play Jumping, Cornwall

Design Management Team, Heartlands
[Editorial note: The following photo essay expands upon recent postings on this blog about urban exploration, extreme landscapes and the relationships between objects, exhibitions and creative community representation].

The Heartlands Project is a community-led vision to transform Cornwall’s most derelict urban area into an inspirational cultural landscape. By celebrating and reigniting Pool’s local traditions of innovation, invention, creativity and enterprise the project will contribute to re-creating a truly great place to live, work and play.
Photo credit: Angelina Boscarelli and Ollie Oakenshield of Rogue Theatre

Fusing past, present and a progressive 21st Century future, the Heartlands landscape will see the creation of an inspirational public green space, outdoor classrooms, and event and performance spaces; all supported by the highest standards of streetscaping and landscaping. The site will incorporate public art in metal, stone, sound, light, and water features. The key feature within this reclaimed landscape will be the restoration of the derelict Robinson’s Shaft minehead complex into the ‘World Heritage Gateway for Mining’ in Devon and Cornwall. Heartlands highlights the aims of both the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks Programme and the local aspirations for community regeneration.

The project’s holistic approach to the design process considers the widest possible ‘users’ requirements to create relevant and unique visitor experience. The aim is to create a scheme where the various elements within this heritage site are harmoniously connected and belong to the whole. In this sense, the notion of play features prominently in the ‘Integrated Design’ approach so that young people are also involved in creating the vision for Heartlands.
In this regard, popular themes to date are: adventure and climbing; slides and towers; water and bridges; ball games; and no fences. A suite of innovative and integrated play opportunities that young people can explore and engage with throughout the area is being sought. This requires the participation of young people in the development of bespoke play design elements such as ‘sculptural landforms’ and public art interventions for play.
Photo credit: Angelina Boscarelli and Ollie Oakenshield of Rogue Theatre

Play interventions that are creatively interpreted to meet young people’s requirements for excitement and opportunities for risk taking, independent exploration and problem solving also need to be strategically linked to the post-industrial history of the site. Here the designers plan to bring together a combination of developmental play and natural play features which explore the natural and built environment throughout the scheme – emphasising industrial architecture, grassy slopes, woodlands, shrubs, water, climbing rocks and ‘den’ making options. Also emphasised will be opportunities for physical play, quiet play and play that ensures children with a disability and their carers have equity of experience.