Orto Playspace Project: A playground designed for and by families

Participate in Design Singapore

Participatory design is an approach where most or all stakeholders are involved in the design process. I first learned about it during an apprenticeship with the Singapore-based non-profit organization Participate in Design. Under the tutelage of Mizah Rahman (co-founder of P!D), I was developed a design brief to rejuvenate the playspace at ORTO Park, a health and wellness destination in northwest Singapore.

The space had previously been identified as one of the park’s “needs improvement” areas. It drew sparse traffic from children, families and youth, and did noth match the lively programming of the entire park. During our research and analysis phase, we involved the potential users of the playspace (families and young children) in its design through case studies, site observation, and in-depth interviews. We presented our findings, analysis and recommendations to the CEO of Fullshare Holdings Ltd, the parent company of ORTO, to propose the construction of a intergenerational playspace on their premises.

I remain an active volunteer with P!D in its community data collection and events on projects such as community art spaces, climate change and public space, and new wayfinding systems.

Bianchi Dy, Kow Zhixin, Mizah Rahman
Orto Park

Project site at ORTO Park, Khatib, Singapore (2016)

Morning observations of space Evening observations of space

Initial research of the site involved community-based research such as observing the site at different times of day and days of the week to determine popular routes

Talking to people Gathering wish list of playspace items Talking to people Gathering wish list of playspace items Talking to people Talking to people

We coordinated and facilitated two pop-up workshops with volunteers to interact with the target users of the space (families) through man-on-the-street interviews, and an ideas market where participants could indicate their wish list of must haves in a playground or, for the children, draw what they thought should be in the playground. We also interviewed the park management, nearby residents and childcare experts to develop profile of potential play space users and their needs.