Exploring Children's Views on Important Park Features: A Qualitative Study Using Walk-Along Interviews

Jenny Veitch, Elliott Flowers, Kylie Ball, Benedicte Deforche, Anna Timperio
2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Parks are places where children can interact with others and engage in physical activity in a natural setting. Park visits can enhance children's social, mental, and physical health. It is therefore important to better understand how parks can be designed to ensure optimal use by children. This qualitative study explored children's perceptions of park features that may influence their park visits, park-based physical activity, and social interaction. Qualitative walk-along interviews were
more » ... terviews were completed with 30 children (mean age 9.7 years (SD 1.3), female n = 16) in nine parks located in varying socioeconomic areas of Melbourne, Australia. As they walked through the park, children shared thoughts regarding characteristics that may influence their visitation, park-based physical activity, and social interactions. Features that would encourage visitation included: challenging and interesting play equipment; a pond and water play area; trees/greenery and shade; and full-sized basketball courts. Features most valued for physical activity included: sports courts, ovals, and equipment; open space; trees to climb; and nature/rocks. Features most valued for social interaction included: a large size; playgrounds; and picnic areas. Children offer unique and important views. Park designers should consider inclusion of these features, when (re)developing parks to support children to lead healthy and active lives.
doi:10.3390/ijerph17134625 pmid:32605061 fatcat:i2wqfkfm3fd2ni2vcgs4jm6oie