Playgrounds for All: Practical Strategies and Guidelines for Designing Inclusive Play Areas for Children

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 776)


To date, outdoor game equipment and playground facilities worldwide are increasingly oriented towards a wide range of solutions in support to gaming activities for children of any age, independently from their motor, cognitive and social impairments. However, due to the complexity of variables interplaying between product demands and user capabilities, many efforts are still needed for making games and playgrounds as much as possible inclusive. The present work proposes a novel methodology useful to designers and other stakeholders for predicting the degree of user exclusion when performing play activities. User trials, focus groups, interviews together with the analysis of accessibility standards, disability descriptors by ICF, and Task Analysis were used for cross-correlating the required tasks with user capabilities. This led to creating an evaluation tool useful to get an immediate feedback and reliable information on the level of inclusiveness of any type of game equipment and user disability. It revealed to be also effective for assessing personal and environmental factors of interest and identifying design requirements.


Playground Inclusive play ICF Disability Inclusive design Social innovation 



The present work was supported by the PIU project - Progetto di Innovazione Urbana Comune di Cecina - financed by the Tuscany region (D.R. n. 3197 del 10.07.2015). The interviews were conducted as part of the collateral activities of the LED laboratory of the University of Florence, in collaboration with the designer Sebastian Lecca. The “Tutti a Bordo” project was created by the designer Fabio Casa Dei which is kindly acknowledged. For the interviews, a special thanks is dedicated also to Claudia Protti and Raffaella Bedetti, the responsible of the Parchi per Tutti Blog.


  1. 1.
    United Nations: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Training Guide. No. 19. United Nations Publications (2014) Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Casey, T.: Inclusive Play: Practical Strategies for Children from Birth to Eight. Sage Publications, London (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dong, H., McGinley, C., Nickpour, F., Cifter, A.S.: Inclusive Design Research Group: Designing for designers: insights into the knowledge users of inclusive design. Appl. Ergon. 46, 284–291 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Clarkson, P.J., Coleman, R.: History of inclusive design in the UK. Appl. Ergon. 46, 235–247 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clarkson, P.J., Dong, H., Keates, S.: Quantifying design exclusion. In: Clarkson, J., Keates, S., Coleman, R., Lebbon, C. (eds.) Inclusive Design, pp. 422–436. Springer, London (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Siu, K.W.M., Wong, Y.L.: Opportunities for inclusive play in densely populated cities: an analysis of the human factors in Hong Kong play space. In: International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, pp. 314–324. Springer, Cham (2017)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    ASTM F1487-11: Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public useGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    ASTM F1292-09: Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Materials within the Use Zone of the Playground EquipmentGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    EN 1176-1: Part 1: General safety requirements and test methodsGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    EN 1176-2: Part 2–3: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for swingsGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    EN 1176-3: Part 3: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for slidesGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Christensen, K. M.: Me2; 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design (2010). Accessed 28 Feb 2018
  13. 13.
    Me2: 7 Principles of inclusive playground design™. Accessed 24 Feb 2018
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
  16. 16.
    US Consumer Product Safety Commission: Public playground safety handbook. Government Printing Office (2010). Accessed 24 Feb 2018
  17. 17.
    Cooper, L., Baber, C.: Focus Groups in Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics Methods. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2005)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Persad, U., Langdon, P.M., Clarkson, P.J.: A framework for analytical inclusive design evaluation. In: 16th International Conference on Engineering Design, pp. 817–818. Paris, France (2007)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Elton, E., Nicolle, C. A.: The importance of context in inclusive design (2010)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Blasco, R., Blanco, T., Marco, A., Berbegal, A., Casas, R.: Needs identification methodology for inclusive design. Behav. Inform. Technol. 35(4), 1–36 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Clarkson, P.J., Waller, S., Cardoso, C.: Approaches to estimating user exclusion. Appl. Ergon. 46, 304 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hollnagel, E.: Task analysis, why, what and how. Handb. Hum. Factors Ergon. 4, 385–396 (2012)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kern, P., Wakeford, L.: Supporting outdoor play for young children: the zone model of playground supervision. YC Young Child. 62(5), 12–16 (2007)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kaplan, M.: Ten tips for choosing a playground for a child with autism, iPlaygrounds (2018). Accessed 24 Feb 2018
  25. 25.
    Muñoz, S.A.: Children in the Outdoors. London: Sustainable Development Research Centre (2009). Accessed 12 Feb 2018

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Ergonomics and Design, Department of ArchitectureUniversity of FlorenceCalenzanoItaly

Personalised recommendations