playground
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Full article issued by Deakin University.

A major national ARC-supported study into suburban parks and playgrounds called ProjectPARK, has identified a wish-list of features that meet the needs of various user groups.

The study by Associate Professor Jenny Veitch and her team from Deakin University's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition found that children, adolescents and older adults all look for different features in parks but all age groups benefit from well-designed urban spaces that cater for play and relaxation.

Associate Professor Veitch said the findings were important because many parks were an under-utilised resource in the urban landscape, yet the social and physical benefits of park use were high.

'COVID-19 reminds us of the critical role parks play in our community. For many people during lockdown, visiting a nearby park has been one of the highlights of the day,' Associate Professor Veitch said.

The research team found that park planners and designers needed access to evidence on best practice park design and research demonstrating the cost benefit of park refurbishments to help inform future park design and refurbishment in Australia.

'In a previous park refurbishment study, a cost-benefit analysis showed it cost 58 cents to gain an additional hour of moderate exercise per person,' said Associate Professor Veitch.

'Yet parks also have wider benefits. They are accessible to all and contribute to improved physical health, quality of life, mental health, social interaction, long-term health care cost savings, and benefit our natural environment.'

'Otherwise, we are wasting valuable space and funds. Parks currently not well attended should be reinvigorated and refurbished to optimise use, offering huge benefits to our population's physical, social and mental wellbeing.'

Photo credit: 

Image: Pixabay (Public Domain).