Community parks and playgrounds: inter-generational participation through Universal Design

Accessible and inclusive community environments are fundamental for enabling social inclusion. As a set of design principles, Universal Design (UD) offers the potential to create inclusive environments that are accessible to as many people as possible. Yet to date, community environments such as parks and playgrounds have received little attention in relation to UD, to designing for diverse groups of users, including children with and without disabilities, and intergenerational users. This project considered play value, UD and usability of parks and playgrounds in one local council area (Cork City Council).

Aims of the research

The project set out to:

  • explore what is known from an international perspective on UD as a method which delivers inclusivity, in relation to parks and playgrounds, play and participation.
  • gain diverse users’ perspectives of children with and without disabilities and their families/carers, of their experiences of accessing and engaging in play in public parks and playgrounds.
  • identify recommendations for best practice in providing for families in public parks and playgrounds, as a means of progressing lifetime communities from a UD approach.

Project Outputs

Lynch, H., Moore, A., Edwards, C., Horgan, L. (2019) 'Advancing play participation for all: The challenge of addressing play diversity and inclusion in community parks and playgrounds', British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Lynch, H., Moore, A., Edwards, C. and Horgan, L. (2018) Community Parks and Playgrounds: Intergenerational Participation through Universal Design Dublin: National Disability Authority.


Project Team: Dr. Helen Lynch (PI), Alice Moore, Dr. Claire Edwards, Linda Horgan

Funded by: National Disability Authority (Universal Design) Research Promotion Scheme (2017)

Duration: 2017-2018

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30