Diversity is a growing reality that impacts many of today’s visioning, planning and design principles. In this edition of “sb” diversity best describes the approach to siting the various projects:

Looking up, we see rooftop developments in São Paulo and Copenhagen, creating community recreation and leisure spaces that offer very unique perspectives of their urban surroundings. We also see in this edition a commitment by Xiamen to elevate both bicycle and pedestrian activity a level above the frenetic and congested realm of street traffic.

Looking down, we see Skatepark Peitruss in Luxembourg, beautifully designed to take advantage of its unique location, and be viewed from above. It is a perfect theatrical setting for its youthful users.
Looking beyond, we see Norway’s Sørenga Sjøbad, another example of the Nordic countries’ development of social/aquatic gathering places built beyond the shoreline, and capable of accommodating both structured and spontaneous recreation programs and experiences.

Looking within the urban core we have Domino Park in New York City, an example of something we have seen many times in previous editions of “sb” as well as in the IAKS architecture prizes program – the transformation of an industrial corridor into a major social, leisure and recreational asset. At a much smaller scale is Gridgrounds in Amsterdam, an example of an activity-oriented community “pocket” park.

Developing open spaces for active living requires a strong sense of vision, an understanding of needs, a creativity in approach, and often multi-level government support.  Our final project in this issue is located in an area where sports and leisure infrastructure is in its most rudimentary stage, and community engagement includes hands-on participation in the construction. Skatepark Windhoek in Namibia is smaller and more basic than the facility in Luxembourg. It is however as significant an accomplishment, and the benefits it brings to the local community are at least equal to the other projects included in this edition of “sb”.