Playgrounds at the Crossroads

Policy and Action Research Needed to Ensure a Viable Future for Public Playgrounds in the United States
  • Robin C. Moore
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 10)


Public playgrounds in the United States have entered a crisis stage in their evolution. They have been criticized as adults’ attempts to control children’s behavior (Wood 1977), damned as irrelevant to children’s developmental needs (Frost & Klein, 1983), and described by children as boring, hurtful, and anti social (Moore, 1989a). More often than not, these supposed spaces for healthy child development contain vast expanses of hot, hard asphalt, poorly maintained old metal equipment—oftentimes installed without adequate safety surfaces—water features that have not worked for years, pokey sandboxes without sand, and vegetation—if it exists at all—installed as an esthetic buffer rather than as a play setting (Bruya & Langendorfer, in press). And yet these spaces where children spend so much of their time could very well support educational principles and stimulate child development (Schools Council, 1974b; Sebba & Churchman, 1986).


Outdoor Play Play Setting School Council Consumer Product Safety Commission Play Environment 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin C. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.School of DesignNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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