Parks / Recreation / Play / Sports Facility Design

Education Session - Panel Format

FRI-A08 - Play from the Ground Up: Playground Safety Surfacing in an Urban Context

Friday, October 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: 126-AB


Great playgrounds start with surfacing that engages the senses and supports accessible and active play. Through precedents, current research, and best practices from municipal agencies, a panel consisting of a playground designer, inspector, and owner will explore how surfacing contributes to exciting, durable, and ultimately safe urban playgrounds.

Learning Objectives:

Betsy H. Caesar

Playcare, Inc.

Betsy has designed over two hundred playgrounds for preschools, schools and municipalities, and performed over fifty playground safety audits. She chaired the ASTMI Committee to develop standards for play equipment for children under two, and has worked with both USCPSC and ASTMI to develop playground safety standards since 1973. Betsy regularly consults on the design of large play structures, and taught an international playground safety course to provide certification in playground safety for ten years.


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Julie Skierski, ASLA

Site Improvement Coordinator
The School District of Philadelphia

​​​​​Julie is a landscape architect and site improvement coordinator with the School District of Philadelphia. As the first and only landscape architect for the City’s public schools, Julie oversees design for 322 properties. She is currently involved in developing site design standards for the District, providing technical oversight for playground, stormwater, and site improvement projects, and serving as the primary liaison between various partner agencies, including Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Philadelphia Water Department, and various nonprofits. Julie has over 10 years of landscape architecture experience within the Greater Philadelphia area.


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Meghan Talarowski, Assoc. ASLA

Studio Ludo

Meghan is the founder and director of Studio Ludo, a non-profit whose mission is building better play through research, design, and advocacy. Her research is focused on how play environments influence social behaviors and physical activity. She has presented at conferences held by Child in the City, the International Play Association, The Association for the Study of Play, and the US Play Coalition, as well as the ASLA online learning series, and was a winner in the 2016 international Play Space design competition and the 2016 Kaboom Play Everywhere Challenge.


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Karl Krause

Senior Landscape Architect

Karl edits the Philly Playground Project, an online resource for parents with reviews of Philadelphia’s public playgrounds, and will serve as the program moderator. He manages resiliency planning and design efforts at OLIN. Karl's recent work with the New York City Housing Authority’s Sandy resiliency and recovery effort includes the design of 30,000 sf of play areas, supported by research on best practices and specifications for high-use, urban and public playgrounds.


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FRI-A08 - Play from the Ground Up: Playground Safety Surfacing in an Urban Context

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