Does the proportion of children with limited day-to-day activities affect the provision of accessible and inclusive public playground in London?
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UCL London United Kingdom
The Manchester School of Architecture United Kingdom
UCL IEHC London United Kingdom
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A197
Whilst play is a fundamental right of every child, and has been continually shown to provide opportunities for social, physical, cognitive and emotional development, a general lack in play provisions for children with disabilities has been reported in the past. Additionally, it has been suggested that the word ‘inclusive’ is regularly misused in playground guidance and play equipment providers. The study aim was to investigate the playground provision in London, and to assess whether boroughs, with the highest, mid- and lowest proportion of children with limited day-to-day (LDTD) activities (as classified by ONS), offer residents accessible and inclusive public play areas, and whether there are any differences between these boroughs. Four boroughs were selected to represent each of the three categories, and 20% of randomly selected playgrounds were then thoroughly investigated in each borough for accessibility and inclusivity. Borough-level analysis was conducted to assess the association between proportion of children with LDTD activities and average playground inclusivity scores. This analysis was then adjusted for different social and economic indicators including Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Results showed that 1% increase in the proportion of children with LDTD activities was associated with a 0.82point decrease in the borough’s average playground score. Further analysis suggested that this association may be, at least partly, due to the socioeconomic characteristics of the different boroughs. When the analysis was adjusted for the 2019 IMD the effect was reduced to 0.19points, (77% reduction of original association). Accounting for IMD data, a clear trend emerged showing that boroughs with lower financial deprivation commit more resources to providing accessible playgrounds for their residents. The study further highlights that designing for ‘inclusive’ spaces is generally poor in London, even poorer in more deprived areas, suggesting designers should be more proactive in engaging with existing resources related to children’s play.
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