IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Playground Accessibility and Neighbourhood Social Interaction Among Parents


  • Scott Bennet


  • Nikolaos Yiannakoulias
  • Allison Williams
  • Peter Kitchen


While the positive association between social interaction and access to green space is well accepted, little research has sought to understand the role of children’s playgrounds in facilitating social interaction within a community. Playgrounds are spaces designed to facilitate play and the interaction of children, but may also be important places of interaction between parents. In this paper we examine how access to playground spaces is related to social interaction between parents. We use two measures of accessibility (1) walking distance to the closest playground and (2) playground service area, a measure of the number of potential users of a playground based on population density. We use generalized estimating equations, an extension of generalized linear models, to control for the confounding effects of socio-economic status (income, education), neighbourhood dynamics (neighbourhood location, years in neighbourhood) and free time (daily outdoor activity, marital status, number of children) on the independent relationship between social interaction and access to playground spaces. Our results suggest that while accessibility to playgrounds is associated with social interaction among parents, the direction of the effect is opposite to existing literature on green space and social interaction; parents with low accessibility to playgrounds are more likely to interact socially with their neighbours than parents with high accessibility. Our results suggest a pattern of spatial behaviour in which the burden of poor access to some resources may actually encourage greater neighbourhood engagement. Future research studying the relationship between health and green space may benefit from studying the specific role of playground spaces. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Bennet & Nikolaos Yiannakoulias & Allison Williams & Peter Kitchen, 2012. "Playground Accessibility and Neighbourhood Social Interaction Among Parents," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 199-213, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:199-213
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0062-4

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sjerp de Vries & Robert A Verheij & Peter P Groenewegen & Peter Spreeuwenberg, 2003. "Natural environments -- healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(10), pages 1717-1731, October.
    2. Giles-Corti, Billie & Donovan, Robert J., 2002. "The relative influence of individual, social and physical environment determinants of physical activity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(12), pages 1793-1812, June.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:9:1546-1551_1 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:199-213. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.