Daily movers: the Landscape Architect

Francis:landscape architect, bike rider, skater, father

We’ve been in this house for about 8 months. We had a lot of extra bricks in the backyard, so we decided to bring them out front and create something the kids could skate on.

 There’s probably about a dozen families here with small kids and they generally play up and down the street. We’ve got nice big wide verges, so there’s lots of space away from the road that kids can play. The verges don’t really get used for much apart from parking cars. 

It’s a pretty simple mound because we wanted to fly under the radar of the council, so it’s a guerrilla mound. It probably contravenes all of their policies!

Francis with his son Joe on the mound

Francis with his son Joe on the mound

The kids appreciate it, they like seeing things that are built for them in the street. They cruise up and down the mound and use it to get speed and have fun. 

As a landscape architect, I’m interested in how landscapes can affect mobility and the way that we get around on bikes, skateboards, scooters, walking and running.

I get frustrated when places are dominated by car use and we don’t have enough emphasis on mobility. There’s a sense in traffic planning that there’s mobility and there’s accessibility. I’m interested in the idea that there is accessibility to mobility and that’s about being able to move around and to get from place to place without needing cars.

Its also about making sure there are places where kids can get outside and skate and have activities near the house so you don’t have to drive to them. It’s a way of competing with that general pressure from computer games and TV. 

We came up with a new term that’s like ‘nature play but we’ve called it ‘skature play’!

Francis being interviewed by me on the mound.

Francis being interviewed by me on the mound.