Playing out: A study into children's use of public space in 1970s housing estates

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Architecture Planning and Landscape


Childhood obesity and inactivity is a growing problem in the UK with impacts on children's health and
the economy. Increasing children's activity through outdoor play has positive impacts but not enough
is known about how to achieve this. This research project aims to investigate the environmental factors
which can positively influence children's independent mobility and outdoor play. It takes an innovative
approach to doing this through re-visiting a period in the 1970s when children's ability to use public
space freely was more widely conceptualised as being important in their development. Taking two
pioneering 1970s council estates as case studies, Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne and Alexandra
Road Estate in London, it examines how they were designed to meet the perceived needs of children.
It then investigates how different generations of children living there have used public space. This
enables an exploration of the extent to which attributes of these estates and social attitudes positively
or negatively impact on children's ability to play out to find out whether there are lessons for the
planning of housing estates today.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000762/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2066471 Studentship ES/P000762/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Sarah Ann Watson