SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011





(212) 592-2228

Recreate: New Grounds for New York’s Playgrounds – SVA MA Design Research

Kimberlie Birks

Recreate: New Grounds for New York’s Playgrounds

Martha Thorne, executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, contends that just as museums were the commissions of choice for architects at the end of the twentieth century, the coveted assignment of the future could well be the urban playground. While New York gave the country its first permanent playground in 1903, over the last century the city went from playground pioneer to philistine. Now, with architects like Michael Van Valkenburgh, David Rockwell and Frank Gehry turning their attention to Manhattan’s swing set, New York may be poised to prove Thorne right. The timing couldn’t be better.

American culture in the early twenty-first century has constricted children’s play as never before, with a combination of technology, educational shifts, increased competition and parental fears. There is simply no time for the chaotic, unstructured fun of the playground anymore. And yet increasingly scientists are revealing that it is precisely this type of child’s play that provides the social and intellectual abilities needed to succeed in life. As Psychology Today’s editor-at-large, Hara Estroff Marano, quips: “Play is the future with sneakers on.”