Community Activated Placemaking Spaces (CAPS)

The project harnesses community-based participatory research to evaluate existing use patterns of playgrounds and ancillary public spaces as intergenerational spaces to inform improved design for social inclusion and community wellbeing.

Community Activated Placemaking Spaces (CAPS)


Placemaking describes the process of developing places through the active participation of the citizens that conceive, perceive, and live in that place. This research project aims at applying this process to playgrounds via a co-design action that can foster place attachment, a foundational concept of environmental psychology linked to positive outcomes in health, community participation, civic behaviour, and perceptions of safety.

Playgrounds & Ancillary Public Spaces

Community assets such as playgrounds are chosen because of the opportunities they provide for social inclusion and user diversity—for example, intergenerational participation, cultural diversity, children—including those with disabilities. In this way, they are important sites for community development and community capacity building. When considered as intergenerational spaces, playgrounds are community assets where people of all ages come together for a range of reasons, including to play, exercise, and socialise. Furthermore, built environment investment utilisation to promote active health benefits has a long-standing tradition in Australia and has the potential to reduce the financial burden on the health system. However, playgrounds have generally been given cursory consideration in promoting social inclusion. This research seeks to contribute to an evidence-based approach to developing an informed design response strategy when looking at these important public spaces.

Project details

Major Sponsors

Creativity and Wellbeing Research Initiative (CAWRI)
The University of Melbourne

Research Partners

Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood House Inc.

Project Team

Blair Gardiner
Dr Sofia Colabella
Dr Frederic Kiernan
Trisna Fraser


Blair Gardiner (University of Melbourne)