People often ask what trends are happening in our industry. Looking back at 2015, I see four things, shifts in the marketplace that will persist and likely grow in the coming New Year.
UNIQUE PLAYGROUND DESIGN
Often nature-inspired, many of our playground designs are now driven by communities that wish to define what is historic or unique about the place they live. So we are asked to develop a theme that speaks to the unique history or legacy of that community. People want signature projects not cookie cutter playgrounds!
I have written before about the growing trend in urban areas, particularly in under served communities, of so-called fitness zones. These are multigenerational, public outdoor areas dedicated to structured physical fitness, often with exercise stations. Groups, particularly The Trust For Public Lands, have popularized and championed this concept. People who can’t necessarily afford health club memberships benefit from fitness zones that are close to where they live and work.
At Ross, we encourage and assist communities, schools, and municipalities to install playground and outdoor fitness equipment themselves, using our experienced, factory-certified installers. Project costs are dramatically lowered and community identity and spirit dramatically increased.
Older Landscape Structures playstructures are being increasingly updated and expanded. Rather than filling up landfills, we are showing owners how to significantly increase the useful life of their playgrounds. From both a financial and environmental perspective, we think this makes good sense. Many of the structures we routinely retrofit are more than 20 years old!
Looking ahead to 2016, we see these trends continuing to build as our clients and Customers seek signature projects that are good for the environment and their communities!
By Ewing Philbin, Owner