The opening of the Hills on Governors Island was one of the events of the 2016 summer that I looked forward to the most. I was quivering with excitement to go and play on the real-life version of those sexy images released showing mountains of stone and wood!
In the weeks following the opening, you could go and find people laying around on the large stones on the hill, as well as running up and down. That the space inspired movement (hiking, exploring) is without a doubt.
However, the island is failing to meet the potential of the space by policing the behaviors of adults and teenagers. There were plenty of children running and jumping between the large stones, with no issue. As soon as an adult went to do the same, however, a guard quickly came over and asked us to cease and desist. They cited concerns for safety, as well as the sturdiness of the structure itself.
If an adult jumping between two of these stones might cause a structural security issue, then perhaps this shouldnt be open to the public. Lets be real.
This is an excellent example of where you have a design being failed by policy. In my manifesto, I lay out three key elements to playspaces being able to realize their fullest potential---one of which is support of the space through the development of tolerant and flexible public policy.
Hopefully the island will become more lax with the years.