Playgrounds: From oppressive spaces to sustainable places?

Maxey, I.

MAXEY, I. (1999). Playgrounds: From Oppressive Spaces to Sustainable Places? Built Environment (1978-), 25(1), 18-24. Retrieved February 2, 2021, from

Playgrounds , sustainability , Wales

The paper begins by reviewing the discourses of sustainable development and children's rights, before mapping-out their significance to play and playgrounds. The paper then draws on fieldwork conducted in two case study communities in Wales to investigate the spatial and social places of play. The paper concludes by questioning the sustainability of playgrounds and by urging reconsideration of the role of playgrounds in the built environment.

Main finding
The author finds that the children in both communities favored natural features, such as trees and bushes, fields, beaches, and streams. Children were found to favor sites and features that accommodated multiple types of play and imagination. In both communities, children adopted play practices from the previous generation. The author argues for flexible play sites that are changeable and interactive.

Description of method used in the article
The author relied on observations in two communities in Wales and in-depth, unstructured interviews (n = 30) to study the actions and perspectives of young people at play.

Of practical use

Organising categories