I get it - I think back to some of the stuff I did as a kid, and adult me is appalled by how dangerous it was. Starting fires unsupervised, climbing massive trees, going into the ceiling of my high school and climbing to perilous heights… and yet I was okay in the end, and I grew a lot and gained a lot of self confidence in the process.


The Land does employ supervisors, but as described in the article by manager Claire Griffiths, their main job is to "loiter with intent"—they keep a close eye but don't intervene unless things look like they're really going to get out of hand.


There's a lot of game design in playground-design. It's all about the idea of engineering a space that will allow people to have fun, and how that pursuit requires that the designer first identify what "fun" is to them. In this case, a child's fun is defined as having the freedom to explore, manipulate, and master an environment, rather than simply climb through a tightly designed jungle gym. Sounds like something that more than a few game designers could learn a thing or two from...

The rest of the story at The Atlantic is great; go check it out.

Images via Back to The Land