Project Play Playground Assessment Sneak Peek

Design Concepts rated 89 of Alexandria's playgrounds early in the Summer of 2011. Indoor, Outdoor, Public and Private playspaces were assessed. Each playground was rated based on a number of determining factors:

  • Play Quality – Does the play space offers appropriate opportunities for physical activity? Opportunities for creativity? Opportunities for children to engage with each other and with adults in positive ways? Opportunities for children to interact with the natural environment? Opportunities for unstructured play?
  • Open Access – Can anyone use it or is access limited or restricted in some way?
  • Invitation – Is it easy to find and welcoming?
  • Ease of Access – Can people get to it by normal means of transportation, including walking? Is there adequate parking available, or a transit stop nearby?
  • Safe Location – How safe is the location perceived to be?
  • Pleasant Conditions and Surroundings – How clean, attractive, and appealing is the play space and its surroundings?
  • Monitoring – Are there “friendly eyes” on the play space during normal times of use?
  • Seating – Is there an adequate amount of comfortable seating for caregivers?
  • Restrooms – Is the need for restrooms met, either at the play space or conveniently nearby? 
  • Drinking Water – Is drinking water available either at the play space or conveniently nearby?


Below are two maps and descriptions that the assessment team will be using in Project Play.


Take a look at this PLAY MAP (1) that looks at:

  • The population density of children ages 0-5 (so where do the most children live?).  Areas that are the darkest shade of orange are areas where the most children live.  The map shows that there are a lot of children living in the northernmost Arlandria area, as well as in the West End.  Arlandria, Del Ray, and Old Town also have a number of children.
  • The quality of playgrounds for children ages 2-5 (we excluded school playgrounds as they are not open during school hours).   Playgrounds can receive a score as low as 0 and as high as 400.  On the map, playgrounds marked with bigger stars are higher quality playgrounds.  Playgrounds with small stars are places that might need some improvement.
  • The location of playgrounds for children ages 2-5.  Here it’s important to see if there are playgrounds in areas with the most children.  Where are the gaps?  Particularly in the West End and in northern Arlandria, there are a lot of children in places where there are fewer playgrounds.


Map of playgrounds and population density for children ages toddler - 5 years (map 1)

Full size version here


Take a look at this PLAY MAP 2.

  • This map focuses on children of all ages and playgrounds equipped for children of all ages. Just as in Map 1, it looks at where children are living, where playgrounds are located, and the quality of those playgrounds. 
  • Here you can see that there are lower quality playgrounds in the West End. There are also areas where a lot of children live in the West End and Northern Arlandria, which don’t have as many playgrounds. These maps also offer suggestions for areas where we can improve our playgrounds.

Map of playgrounds and population density for children of all ages (map 2)

Full size version here


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