Riverbend Park is one of Launceston's most popular attractions for families.
Officially opened in August 2019, the development began in 2013 and transformed a vacant industrial block into a cutting-edge play area for the young and young at heart.
For members of the Northern Early Years Group (NEYG) the park holds a special place in their hearts and cements their mission to make Launceston a child-friendly city.
In 2013 and 2014, UTAS and NEYG led a research project on Launceston childrens' views of play spaces and engaged directly with children to ask them what they would like to see in a new park.
Using an approach called 'drawing-telling', the researchers sat with young children and encouraged them to draw a design for a play space while explaining what they were creating.
"At the time, our drawing-telling approach to the research was fairly new so it was important for us to share the childrens' ideas with people who were designing play spaces," UTAS Teacher Professional Learning lecturer Elspeth Stephenson said.
"Children are the experts about what matters most to them. We had a way of finding that out."
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The research was used in the development of Riverbend Park, such as the inclusion of the mammoth yellow sky walk, popular with adventure-seekers of all ages.
The play equipment stands at 12-metres tall, making it one of the tallest pieces of play equipment in Australia.
NEYG secretary Di Nailon OAM said the sky walk responded to children's love of testing their own abilities.
"Children want risk with their play, they've got to challenge themselves," Ms Nailon said.
NEYG chair Jane Hudson said NEYG's aim was to make Launceston a great place for children to live.
"The work of our group is to collectively make the North of Tasmania a great place for children to grow up and flourish in, healthy through all aspects of their lives," Ms Hudson said.
"The contribution of this 'children's views' research to the early development of Riverbend Park is just one example of what we do."
Ms Nailon said the park catered to four different styles of play, from adventurous to nature-based.
She said it was an example on the importance of engaging with children about developments that will impact them.
"It's shows how you can develop play spaces with children involved," Ms Nailon said.
"Hearing what children want and what they like, and what we demonstrated to council was that you can collect ideas from children as young as three."
Last week, NEYG and other key stakeholders returned to Riverbend Park to reflect on their work thus far and look towards other projects to make Launceston the ideal place to raise a family.
"It is important that we tell those children who are now around eleven years old that we showed their drawings to council, told them what you said, and they really listened," Dr Stephenson said.
"Your voices are evident in this park. That is why we came back here. We wanted to close the loop to show you that your ideas are here."
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