SF Nature Exploration Area Playbook
The San Francisco Nature Exploration Area (NEA) Playbook was created to inspire and inform outdoor childhood spaces in San Francisco and beyond. The Playbook was developed by our Nature Connection Design workgroup team representing city-wide public land management and planning agencies along with local experts who are pioneering innovative place-making with children in mind.
What is a Nature Exploration Area?
A Nature Exploration Area is:
- A space that welcomes people of all ages to engage with natural elements including logs, stumps, boulders, and loose natural parts.
- A place where kids are encouraged to balance on logs, jump, play in mud, and use natural materials to build dens, castles, towers… whatever their imaginations conjure. These experiences are getting harder to come by in cities.
- A way of inspiring lifelong connections with nature.
What’s inside the Playbook
In 20 photo-rich pages, the Playbook identifies eleven design features for nature play, exploration, and connection. Whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing an existing site, this user-friendly guide will inspire and inform simple things you can do to add value to children’s lives.
A more detailed technical NEA Design Guide is now also being finalized that will accompany the Playbook.
11 DESIGN FEATURES
+ Natural loose parts
+ Beneficial risk elements
+ Ecological elements
+ Sensory & immersive experiences
+ Site boundaries
+ Welcoming signage
+ Public involvement
+ Management plan
+ Climbable trees
+ Gardening area
+ Place-based interpretation