Accessible Play Environments Pilot Study

image: Kenneth Hurst
Caruth Park in Dallas, Texas
image: Kenneth Hurst

“Play is the child’s work. The world is his laboratory, and he is the scientist.”
-M. Paul Friedberg, 1970, Play and Interplay, p. 35

Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1991 followed by the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design has ushered in an increasing awareness of accommodating people with physical challenges and has fostered an emphasis on accessibility and play for children of all abilities. In the spring of 2012, a user count study was undertaken in a suburban North Texas community to test a hypothesis that play environments built to a higher standard of accessibility, rather than the minimum requirements of ADA, are often more popular and receive more use than playgrounds meeting basic ADA standards.

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