Green Neighbourhoods

Playgrounds and schoolyards


Image credit: PPH

Create variations in the landscape

Differences in high-low, dark-light, open-closed, dry-wet make a play area more interesting, less predictable and more natural. Unexpected (natural) differences in the terrain such as hills, horizontal tree trunks and rocks for climbing and exploring are encouraged.

Use various natural materials

Ground: clay, sand, mud
Water: pumps, fountains, streams, wetlands, ponds
Planting: groundcover and flowers, shrubs, trees
Materials: wood and steel

Cater to the needs of children

Encourage active movement such as climbing and running, provide some peaceful sitting areas while allowing others to play together and make noise. Children should feel welcome and be comfortable in all seasons

Allow children to explore the possibilities of nature

Create opportunities to playfully change the surroundings with sand, mud, and water, use loose natural elements as play equipment, allow children to exercise their imagination and creativity and make it inviting to explore nature. Encourage children to make something useful and beautiful from natural materials. Make it possible for hands-on nature and environmental education within the city.

Involve children in the design process, realisation, maintenance and use

Educate and demonstrate how nature can be created in the city and encourage continuing interaction with the seasonal changes of nature.

Provide children with the opportunity to experience and play in nature within the city.

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Did you know?

Playing in greenery stimulates creativity and imagination in children, as well as helping them to refine their motor skills.

Criteria for construction, maintenance and safety of green playgrounds

Aspect of designCriteria
PlantingThe right tree in the right place, must be central in design, functional and offer more than just aesthetics
Ecological valueFruit, colour and structure are important, attractive for animals, native plants
Maintenance planMust be set up and responsibility should be taken
DesignMust be flexible and multifunctional, be realised with 3-5 years, be presented to the users as well as the nearby residents
SurroundingsShould fit into the surroundings, connect to existing water storage, ecological connections, educational functions or other special interests
SafetyDesign should be transparent for social safety, have visible entrances/exits to traffic, avoid poisonous plants and must fulfil the safety criteria for all play areas

Benefits of playing in green

  • Stimulates creativity and imagination
  • Children can come into contact with nature in a creative way
  • Offers space to move, play and dream
  • Stimulates motor skills, interaction with other children and physical activity

New and existing developments

In new development:

Situate school buildings to provide optimal outdoor spaces for play and education. Create new green public playgrounds accessible to all children.

In existing development:

Transform existing playgrounds and schoolyards by replacing paving with green. Install play equipment made of natural materials which both stimulates play and allows children to experience nature.