On one hand, I'm grateful for the modernization of the playgrounds. On the other, I think the changes they make is inevitably going to end to failure. Tying in to what I wrote about earlier, people here (including myself, subconsciously) have a maximalist disorder, of wanting to put something/anything in whatever space they see. It's a chronic disorder that would have a staggering retribution in the future. And adding random structures is irresponsible.
Instead of structures designated for kids to play, the playground itself should only play a small role in play. What I mean is, unstructured play is important, yet difficult to do when playgrounds are structured in such a way that they have a specific way to play. It's like "unitaskers" of a kid's world. Slides are meant to play by sliding down. But how many times have you seen kids climb up the slide? That's what I mean. Design one thing, but expect them to play with it in different ways (that is also planned accordingly to minimize injuries).
That brings me to my second point: inadvertently hazardous designs that could be avoided. Such as placing useless stairs with insanely sharp corners. Or placing distracting elements that serve no purpose. Visually, it might be appealing, but real test results show that they are terrible.
Last problem: equipment that has no design flow. This could come from purchasing equipments from different suppliers/manufacturers. Or designs made by a team with no agreed consensus on the over-arching design theme. The parts are conceptualized separately to create a mish-mash of incoherent mess. Kids too, deserve good learning environments.
Now, for my thesis, I want to collect data and research materials revolving around the notion of designing for kids, and regurgitate it in an easy-to-understand and usable framework. It should promote healthy learning. The research should be easy to understand for designers as well as educators. The argument should be convincing, and the hypothesis and data must be sound. There must not be leaky holes that could put the whole thesis into the ground, along with other failed 21st century ideals. To get it to that state, I will have to contact expertise in the field, and have a working prototype by the end of the 2nd term. It's a lot to handle, so I will have to start gathering resources and plan early.
It's a lot to ask for, but I want to create a universal codex on good design, and an approach to good design for everyone. But with everything, it needs to begin at an individual level before going anywhere else. So I'm hoping what I learn from my 2 years in MDes will at the very least make me a better designer.