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    The sensory experience of the great outdoors

    Deborah Singerman

    Mesmerised, that’s what I was when I saw my first street stall in Asia back in the late 1970s. The swill of vegetables in the wok, spurting flames from the oil, pungent smells and the remarkable repetition of the signature dish might after night. I was never lonely or bored. Spice Alley, a row of food stalls behind the galleries and cafes of Chippendale’s Kensington street, is one of the most authentic culinary mixes and atmospheres I have come across in Sydney. I read an article that said it is for overseas students and tourists but I assure you locals are flocking in too. We must not limit ourselves.

    The unthinkable, consistent waves and never having to worry about sharks, was a Sydney Morning Herald reporter’s response to news that Olympic Park may get a wave pool, in anticipation of surfing being offered at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Artificial and yet so enticing.

    Varied exercise outlets such as outdoor gyms, some with shading, are popping up in many a local park, the equipment designed to be used by all ages, emphasising complete workouts, for strength, muscular flexibility and increased cardio fitness. One locally designed and manufactured range, Fit for Parks, was developed with input from experienced physiologists.

    The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO) recently launched the Fitzone Cube, again for all users. This  Australian manufactured static outdoor gym range has grade 304 powder-coated stainless steel pipe work. Vertical posts are marine grade extruded powder-coated aluminum and all fittings and other components are grade 304 stainless steel and Australian high-density polyethylene.

    Meanwhile Koopmans Organic Robinia play range is made from FSC certified Robinia wood. It is an inclusive play range available in untreated, transparent brown pigment, or colour painted wood.

    At Fashion Spree Shopping Centre in Liverpool, the Moduplay, is a skytower playspace with a suspended rope net walkway reached by a series of stepped paths.

    Catering for a different sort of outside reveller are Perth’s public urinals in nightlife centre Northbridge. The Uri-Lift retractable toilet is flat to the pavement during the day and pops up at night, hydraulically lifted, convenient and visible. Made of stainless steel, the self-cleaning toilet is connected to the city’s sewerage system.

    A Northern England community aims to create a community space, known as a pocket park, that connect a public library, swimming pool and vegetable garden, and spot for sitting, reading and talking to friends and neighbours, reports Place Partners. While sittability is important, it also reports that users of public spaces rank walkability as one of the top three factors that positively contribute to place experience across Australia. The other two are “amount of public space” and “physical safety”. Being active is all the go and can be fun.

    Deborah Singerman runs her own writing, editing, proofing and project managing consultancy specialising in the urban built environment and community. @deborahsingerma

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