Fluid or Fixed? Processes that Facilitate or Constrain a Sense of Inclusion in Participatory Schoolyard and Park Design

Angela Kreutz, Victoria Derr, Louise Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To better understand children’s needs and desires, many landscape architecture and urban planning professionals are engaging children in participatory design processes. These projects often involve children in early conceptual design phases but not in later planning and construction, when technical expertise dominates the process. This article focuses on a participatory process with schoolchildren to redesign a schoolyard and park for nature play and learning. Interviews with key adult facilitators and a focus group with participant children help trace the process from conceptualization through construction. The results document design and construction processes that at times facilitated and at other times hindered the realization of children’s aspirations for nature play and learning. These outcomes relate to children’s and adults’ reactions to changing opportunities and constraints that each group faced in successive project phases. The conclusion points to the advantages of sustained community participation and suggests how different design and construction phases can be aligned to better achieve the dynamic qualities that children value when engaging with nature.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalLandscape Journal
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • participation
  • children
  • nature play
  • environmental learning


  • Architecture
  • Education
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

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