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Landscape architect Jussi Virta gets the Lappset Prize

In his master's thesis, Virta explores how children's development can be better supported by renewing playgrounds.
Riskejä on otettava -diplomityön kuvitusta: vanha mustavalkoinen kuva, jossa lapset leikkivät verkkokeinussa ja aikuiset keskustelevat sen lähistöllä

Risks must be taken – The return of risky playgrounds (Riskejä on otettava - riskialttiiden leikkipaikkojen paluu) thesis deals with risk taking in children's plays and is based on international research literature. The main thesis is that risky play has positive effects on children's health and development. Risky play encourages the child to take on challenges, including the risk of insecurity and physical injury.

‘The term risk-taking has an unnecessarily negative tone, even though the challenges are part of the child's development. Taking risks does not mean recklessness, but getting to know the unknown. Children know how to take risks - it is mainly about whether they are allowed to take them’, says Jussi Virta.

In his thesis, Virta explores how playgrounds in Finland could be modernized to better meet the important challenges of child’s development. He also ponders how to increase the diversity of playgrounds so that the users will better understand the benefits of positive risk-taking.

The author compiles his findings into a risk matrix, which is a useful list of good playground features and an excellent tool for designing playgrounds.

According to the Lappset commission, the master’s thesis is ambitious, engaging and bold.

‘The author has taken on a demanding topic and has made extensive use of international research literature and case studies. The author has a strong and important message that is conveyed through rich material and narrative. The work is a valuable discussion opener’, the commission justifies the choice.

The Lappset prize is awarded for the best thesis in landscape architecture and it is awarded annually to a distinguished graduate student in the Aalto University’s Landscape Architecture program. The prize is 2 000 eur and donated by Lappset Group Oy.

More information:

Landscape Architect Jussi Virta, 040 740 4990, [email protected]

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