Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse.’”
I was reminded of this quote when reading a recent New York Times article. Titled “Mom, Dad, This Playground’s for You,” it discusses the City of New York’s latest attempt at helping its citizens live a healthier, more active lifestyle. How? By installing — you guessed it — adult playgrounds.
The idea isn’t really new— adult playgrounds already exist in Europe and China, as well as in other U.S. states. However, the idea does make special sense in New York, where adults are banned from regular playgrounds unless accompanied by a child, which means they can’t very well use little Tony’s monkey bars to do a few pull-ups.
Sceptics might argue most adults haven’t demanded the right to have access to a playground. Yet I trust many will find themselves using these facilities, especially when it’s nice out and when they’re conveniently located close to home. After all, these playgrounds do make the prospect of working out a lot more fun than running on a treadmill indoors like a lab rat.
Indeed, for all the press New York’s adult playgrounds are getting, some of us in the private sector have already conceived communities where adults and children alike will find pretty much any athletic activity just beyond their backyard. This is what we’re doing in our Treetops community, which will feature a full-sized athletic field, plenty of trails dotted with outdoors fitness stations, and an outdoor community park with beach volleyball and basketball courts.
When planning a new community, do you settle for providing homeowners (and clients) with preconceived notions of what they want? Or do you go beyond and offer them something they didn’t know they wanted?