In response to the Beirut Port Blast on the 4th of August 2020, we partnered with UNICEF Lebanon and Himaya to rehabilitate two neglected public parks in Beirut – Karm Al Arees Park and Kaskas Park. The rehabilitations focussed on transforming these parks into inclusive, accessible and child friendly spaces that could be used by the local community for everyday use, activities and gatherings. Working in close coordination with the Municipality of Beirut and Himaya NGO, the design for these parks was centred on making public spaces that could be used and enjoyed by everyone.
Kaskas public park is located in Kaskas, a vulnerable neighbourhood of Beirut. Prior to the rehabilitation of the park, the area was run down with old swings and a destroyed plastic play structure, and residents described it as neglected and unsafe. We wanted to improve the opportunities for inclusive play, maximise the space in the park by improving the seating area, and creating opportunities for more activities.
To minimise waste, we rehabilitated the existing steel swing structures by aligning, adapting and joining them together to create one big play structure. To make the play space more inclusive and fun we also added new elements including a nest swing, a slide and a place to climb. As in Karm Al Arees public park, the new structure also has sensory play items like speaking pipes, music rollers and educational games like spinning cubes with animals painted on them.
To create more opportunities for children to play freely, we paved most of the park to allow children to play more safely and to enable different activities to happen on the open floor space. This is complemented by a new workshop area with an amphitheatre and long tables and benches. These are decorated with a colourful mosaic using discarded tiles and put together by local artists.
To ensure that caregivers are able to enjoy the park while watching their children play, we relocated some existing benches. Next to the benches is a sand pit for toddlers. We also did a bit of upkeep to existing elements including the bathrooms, as well implementing a new accessible bathroom.
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