Participatory Schoolyard Design for Health and Well-Being: Policies that Support Play in Urban Green Spaces

Victoria Derr, Alessandro Rigolon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Informal play in nature is fundamental to children’s health and well-being, providing physical, social, and psychological benefits. Yet children in urban environments frequently lack access to natural spaces for free play. Participatory planning similarly is important across many domains in contributing to children’s well-being. This chapter reviews the benefits and threats to children’s informal play in nature in cities today. It then examines the role of green schoolyards as one means of providing opportunities for such play. Finally, it explores a case study of a participatory planning and design process to expand nature play opportunities in a schoolyard and adjacent park in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Interviews with professionals involved in the project are used to identify themes, programs, and policies at municipal, state, and international levels that promote children’s informal play in urban green spaces.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationRisk, Protection, Provision and Policy
StatePublished - 2016


  • Child-friendly cities
  • Children
  • Green schoolyards
  • Health
  • Informal play
  • Nature
  • Parks
  • Participatory planning
  • Policies
  • Well-being


  • Community Health
  • Urban Studies and Planning

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