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Barrow Park in North Coogee voted Australia's best play space

October 2020

Photo credit : Frank Kotai

Story Ben Smith Cockburn Gazette

A Perth park containing a bicycle pump track and playground, nestled between beachside high-density complexes, has been crowned Australia’s best play space by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.

Barrow Park in North Coogee received a $250,000 overhaul by Ecoscape Australia and opened in March 2019, following a long campaign by the South Beach Community Group for improved facilities for families.

In 2017, local girl Freya-Jane Harris fronted the council to call for an upgrade of Barrow Park to accommodate the growing community.

More than three years later, that campaign has paid off with a stunning play space.

The narrow, winding park stretches from near South Beach through the suburb to Shoalwater Street, adjacent to South Beach Promenade.

At the park’s end is a junior bicycle pump track with a viewing deck and nearby playground featuring recycled materials and coastal plants.

Photo credit : Leela Day

In their citation earlier this month, the AILA said the park was an “authentic community playground”.

They said it responded “to the needs of locals and successfully provides a space that encourages all users to gather and participate”.

“The area has a large number of families living in townhouses and apartments and the resident children lacked access to the kinds of spaces where they could socialise, express themselves and play in unstructured ways,” the citation said.

“The genius of the project was to recognise and understand this gap and proceed to undertake a collaborative design process with the local community to develop an authentic play space on an extremely limited budget, and evocative natural landscapes in a confined urban space.”

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