Playscapes’s first restoration was in 1996, in preparation for the Summer Olympics, when it was repainted but not conserved. “What we found was, by 2005, there were structural issues with the slide components which had a lot of rust and corrosion, there was graffiti, and there were a lot of problems with social behavior around the site,” says Robert Witherspoon, project supervisor (collections management) for the City of Atlanta Public Art Program, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “One of the slides was closed down and had a hideous chain link fence around it because of drug activity that was happening in the concealed space of the tower. In 2008-2009, the city spent $350,000 restoring the playground to conservation standards: putting the equipment back into Noguchi’s layout, stripping the paint, patching and repairing corroded metal, repainting the original colors. In a few places, they altered the original design to improve safety in fall zones, in the spacing between bars, and to add curved, lockable doors to the top and bottom of the tower. “We grandfathered the rest of the design elements so that we didn’t have to radically change or mess with the integrity of the design,” says Witherspoon.
Earlier this year, with a $21,000 grant from Herman Miller Cares, the entire playground was repainted again and one wall in the pavilion fixed. “The effect is, it looks pretty much brand new,” Witherspoon says. In addition, the parks department brought in three semi-trucks of mulch, creating a softer surface underneath the Noguchi equipment. Going forward, multiple city agencies have vowed to keep up with maintenance. Ideally, says Witherspoon, Playscapes would have its own endowment to keep it looking new. The latest restoration, he says, “is a game-changer. Noguchi wanted to create a site that brought high art to everyone. That was something innovative when the park was designed in the 1930s, but even when it was installed in 1976.”
In fact, it’s still innovative. Interest in the design, safety, and efficacy of parks and playgrounds are on the upswing, as they were in the decades in which Noguchi was perfecting his approach to play. “He had a really good concept that playgrounds should not be designed like military exercise equipment for a cheaply executed boot camp,” says Hart of the Noguchi Museum. “He thought kids should experience the environment the way man first experienced the earth, as a spectacular and complex place.” Even if we can only experience the full complexity of the Noguchi play experience in Japan, the restored Atlanta Playscapes are a start—and should start a larger discussion about landscapes of play for the future.
After students have read and understood the assigned topic, they can go on to the next step of the essay-writing process. This step does involve writing -- but not yet essay writing. In step two, students write an outline of their proposed essay. The outline should look something like this:
Congress According to Twain
1) Topic: The question or prompt rephrased in the student's own words. Rephrasing the prompt will help students understand the assignment and narrow and focus the topic of their essay. For example, "Mark Twain once said that all members of Congress are idiots."
2) Position: The student's position or opinion about the question or prompt. For example, "I see no reason to disagree."
Most writing assessments ask students to take a position. Students should be aware that, if the test directions ask them to take a position, they need to take one side of the issue and defend it, not consider and defend both sides of the issue.
3) Reasons: Three reasons the student has taken his or her stated position.
a) Reason 1: The most important reason. For example, "Congress has passed a number of bills without considering where the funding for those bills would come from."
i) Evidence: Example that demonstrates Reason 1. For example, "The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Clean Air Act, and the No Child Left Behind Act are just three examples of laws that were passed without considering how cities and states would pay to implement their mandates."
b) Reason 2: The second most important reason. For example, "Congress has passed a number of silly bills based on narrow political interests."
i) Evidence: Example that demonstrates Reason 2. "For example, federal laws have been passed making it a crime to imitate Smokey the Bear or transport wooden teeth across state lines."
c) Reason 3: The third most important reason. For example, "The members of Congress from my state are idiots."
i) Evidence: Example that demonstrates Reason 3. For example, "I met John Smith, a member of Congress from my state, and he had never heard of my hometown."
The LED-s Urban Carpet consists of two layers: the first is a grid of light-emitting diodes (LED-s), which turn on or off depending on a computer program, written in Processing, which defines the behavior of each light at every instant. The program use a Boid algorithm based on Craig Reynolds’ rules, to simulate a flock of seagulls that follow the pedestrian. It gives the whole experience a recreational and fun atmosphere. The location of each pedestrian over the carpet is recognized by a second layer: a grid of pressure pad sensors, which is located behind the grid of LEDs . Both the LED and pressure pad layers are connected each one to one Arduino board; the first sends the user’s input to the computational program and, the second performs the outputs controlling seven LED Display Drivers M5054 (32 pins). Project code .