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Sonja Johansson, FASLA
Johansson Design Collaborative
9 Old Concord Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
Phone: 781-259-9701






In the News

Rockefeller Playground in Battery Park City has been voted Best Playground Worth Traveling To by Time Out New York Kids magazine! May-June 2006 Issue.

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We are pleased to announce Sonja Johansson's induction into the American Society of Landscape Architects' Council of Fellows.
Sonja designs play spaces that both nourish children through all stages of development and provide for the needs of caregivers and the community. Among her groundbreaking playground designs are Pierrepont Playground (1978), Rockefeller Park Playground (1992) and the Rusk Institute’s PlayGarden for Interactive Therapeutic Play (1998). The PlayGarden was designed to challenge and strengthen children of all abilities with custom-designed play equipment and topography that transforms therapy into play. Sonja’s work has set the standard for enjoyable, educational, and universally accessible play spaces for families and communities.
The designation of Fellow is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional work over a sustained period of time.

Rockefeller Playground at Battery Park City

Drawn by Ed Koren for The New Yorker

Used with permission.

Carter, Jodie. (2004) "Creating Outdoor Learning Spaces: The Boston Schoolyard Initiative Teams with Sonja Johansson to Create an Interactive Space for the Edward Everett Elementary School Campus." Landscape Architect and Specifier News, June 2004, pp. 54-60.

Center for Health Design. (2001) "Rusk Children's PlayGarden for Interactive Therapeutic Play at the Rusk Institute." Healthcare Design Magazine, November 2001, p. 99.

Hiss, Tony and Ed Koren. (1993) "Child's Play: Six New York playgrounds demonstrate how urban planners are finally realizing the kind of spaces children need to survive in the city." The New Yorker, May 24, 1993.

Ishac, Allen. (2003) New York's 50 Best Places to Take Children. Universe Publishing, 2003, pp. 90-91.

Knecht, Barbara. (2004) Accessibility Regulations and a Universal Design Philosphy Inspire the Design Process." Architectural Record, January 2004, pp. 149-150.

Vanderbilt, Tom (1999) "Design for Child's Play: How can a small design firm succeed in a specialized niche?" Landscape Architecture Magazine, March 1999, pp. 134-135.

White, Hazel. (2002) "Child's Play: A New York Garden Helps Children Weather Life's Changes." Garden Design Magazine, April 2002, pp. 29-30.

Articles by Sonja Johansson et al.

Johansson, Sonja FASLA and Nancy K. Chambers (2005). "A Children's PlayGarden at a Rehabilitation Hospital: A successful collaboration produces a successful outcome." LATIS Forum on Therapeutic Landscapes, (Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series) published by the American Society of Landscape Architects:

The LATIS Forum on Therapeutic Landscapes discusses the practice of creating landscapes to support human health and wellbeing. Authors explore how this practice area, rooted deeply in tradition, is evolving to meet modern needs arising from various life circumstances. Successful designs and the process to create them vary according to the special needs of user groups. Readers will learn how therapeutic landscapes provide benefits to all humans, both in clinical and institutional settings and in the matrix of everyday life.

Johansson, Sonja. (2004) "Bringing Therapy Outdoors: Therapists at the NYU Medical Center's Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine are Challenging Traditional Rehabilitation Methods by Taking their Therapy Outdoors into a Custom Designed PlayGarden where Disabled Children Carry out the Process of Rehabilitation Through Play." Landscape Architect and Specifier News, September 2004, pp.72-78.

Chambers, Nancy K., Sonja Johansson, and Donna M. Walcavage (1996). "Classroom? Playground? Garden? Or Clinic?" Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, Vol. VIII, pp. 83-87.

Chambers, Nancy K. and Sonja Johansson (2000). "A Children's PlayGarden at a Rehabilitation Hospital: A Successful Collaboration Produces a Successful Outcome." Proceedings from the Sixth Annual People-Plant Symposium, Glencoe, Illinois, July.

Johansson, Sonja (2002). "Rusk Children's PlayGarden for Interactive Therapeutic Play." in Educational Facilities: The American Institute of Architects Exemplary Learning Environment Program, The Images Publishing Group PTY, LTD. pp. 160-161.

Johansson, Sonja and Nancy K. Chambers (2001). "Creating Outdoor Natural Play Environments for Disabled Children's Rehabilitation." Proceedings from the ASLA Annual Meeting, September.