224530 Learning Landscapes: Increasing Access to Play, Exploring the nation's First District-Wide Schoolyard Renovation Program

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Catherine Townley, MURP, MUD , School of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver Learning Landscapes, Denver, CO
Background: Learning Landscapes (LL) is a successful collaboration between multiple stakeholders that since 1998 has transformed 52 neglected Denver elementary school playgrounds into multi-use playgrounds and public parks that are tailored to the needs and desires of the local community, increase physical activity, and build neighborhood civic engagement.

Purpose: University of Colorado Denver landscape architecture students and professors work with school officials, teachers, students and community members to design new school grounds that respond to the cultural makeup of the neighborhood, the aesthetic tastes of its residents, and the developmental needs of children. In 2003, 2005 and 2008 Denver city voters passed bonds totaling over $49 million to fund the redevelopment of these elementary school yards.

Significance: By 2012 every DPS elementary school will have a LL providing students increased access to age appropriate play equipment, grass playing fields, habitat and vegetable gardens, and outdoor art. The schoolyards are open to the community for use after school. DPS LL program supplements the City of Denver Playground Master plan in an effort to elevate Denver as the regional leader in providing distinctive play spaces that foster the healthy development of children and their families.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Presenters will describe the collaborative planning model utilized to engage students, parents, community members, teachers, and school and community officials in the design, build, and upkeep of the playgrounds. 2. Discuss collaborative planning efforts between DPS, LL and City of Denver leading to resource maximization.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee the community engagement and assist witht the University Learning Landscape program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.