The children have learned about the existence of various ecosystems (Fig. 5.10) by playing in the park and through their participation in the workshops during its planning. Their teachers and a number of local residents have also been active in this process, with the result that their interest in the park remains strong because they have actively participated in the development of an accessible environment and been able to propose ideas for its future management.
Nevertheless, the following problems were encountered during the planning of the park. (1) A great deal of time is needed to plan and manage the project. (2) The cooperative framework in which the park is managed changes every year because the teachers are transferred to other schools every 3-5 years. This change creates added difficulties in attempting to maintain continuity in the planning process each year.
An issue for future consideration is whether it is necessary to produce a manual to provide guidance on the maintenance of the park. Should this be done, there is a fear that the manual could be regarded as the one and only way of maintaining a city park and thus result in a lack of flexibility or diversity in the future.
The city park has gradually changed into a biotope during the past 3 years and the ecosystem contained within it has become more complex every year. It is important that this type of city park can contribute to the ecological network in the city.
A lack of outdoor space to play in, fear of violence in public spaces, the longer working hours of parents, and the artificial nature of most playgrounds have helped create the present-day situation in which young children have gradually lost contact with nature (Herrington and Studtmann 1998). Through this project, we discussed how to design a place that can be an “interface” between nature and people.
It is thus vital that present-day planners and landscape designers consider “landscape” as an “Omniscape” (Ito et al. 2010; Fjprtoft and Ito 2010; Numata 1996; Arakawa and Fujii 1999), in which it is much more important to think of landscape planning as a learnscape, not only embracing the joy of seeing but exciting the five senses as a whole.
Acknowledgments We wish to express our gratitude to all those who gave us the chance to write this paper. We are indebted to all students in Keitaro Ito’s laboratory in Kyushu Institute of Technology and the children, teachers, and parents in Tenraiji primary school. This study was supported by Kakenhi, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (No. 19300264) in 2007-2010, and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (No.) in 2011-2013.