The benefits of creating vibrant environments for children are well documented. In a recent US initiative, water-based surface coatings were used to transform 88 Boston schoolyard asphalt surfaces into brightly-coloured areas that encourage structured, unstructured activity and learning play. Years later, the transformation was found to increase physical activity by 100%, improve school behaviour by 63%, and improve relationships with parents and communities by 74%.
“Several studies like this show that when you create these fun and captivating outdoor spaces for kids, you reduce violence in the playground and increase important school metrics like focus, comprehension, and engagement,” says Hub Surface Systems principal Doug Bain.
These results have been replicated throughout the US. They are also beginning to take shape north of the border thanks to the introduction of innovative asphalt and concrete coatings.
Hub Surface Systems is leading the transformation of schoolyards and playgrounds in Canada. Its introduction of StreetBond150 Advanced Coatings for Asphalt and Concrete in 1999, for example, offers a compelling example of how advanced surface coatings can blend functionality, safety, and design innovation for public spaces, including those intended for kids.
“Historically, playgrounds have been designed with yellow or white paint, or they draw a drab hopscotch or dodgeball area that kids never really use,” says Bain. “Now, with products like this, we’re able to turn traditionally flat and uninteresting areas into something that defines the space and engages everyone on it.”
Bain and his team partnered with landscape designers at Seferian Design Group to revitalize kindergarten play areas at more than 120 Catholic, public, and private schools throughout Ontario.
“We first began using Streetbond150 in school playgrounds to bring in vibrant colours and games into an otherwise dull and grey environment,” recalls Haig Seferian, Principal Landscape Architect with Seferian Design Group. “We found that while the StreetBond product is best suited for new asphalt or concrete, many schools do not have the budget to re-install new asphalt. StreetBond150 has been an ideal solution for renewing older asphalt and concrete areas.
“Going back to re-visit projects from years ago is a pleasure since the product is still looking great,” he continues. “It takes a ton of use and abuse, but holds up year after year.”
Eye-catching, non-toxic, non-slippery surface coatings like StreetBond150 contribute to safer, more eco-friendly and engaging environments.
What’s more, adds Seferian, it helps that the coatings are formulated for Canada’s climate: “Our harsh winter conditions coupled with the de-icing measures for public areas is a recipe for the breakdown in construction materials, but StreetBond seems to hold its physical integrity through constant use, poor weather conditions and chemical de-icing measures.” .
“Not all products work in Canada,” adds Bain. “That’s why we bring in products like StreetBond, which we know will work in the Canadian market, with our freeze-thaw cycles. It gives designers more freedom when it comes to creating rich and engaging environments.”
Playground surfaces aren’t the only areas that are ripe for innovation. Thanks to the successful introduction of StreetBond at schools throughout Ontario, municipalities are beginning to see the advantages of exploring new ways to breathe life into their streets, parks, and pedestrian hotspots.
After all, adds Bain, “Everyone needs a little colour in their lives, and if we can do that while also enhancing the durability, safety, and eco-footprint of the space, everyone wins.”
Learn more about StreetBond150