Value of playgrounds adds up to dollars and sense

Value of playgrounds adds up to dollars and sense

Evaluating the intrinsic value of playgrounds is not as simple as looking at columns of numbers on a balance sheet.

Quality, well-designed and inclusive playgrounds deliver a return on investment far beyond simple economics. Benefits encompass social, health, lifestyle, educational and environmental gains for communities as a whole, as well as residents, families and visitors.

Just as climbers need balance, agility and flexibility reach the top of our Pyramid Net Towers, so too do playground builders, managers and owners in optimising the all-round value of playgrounds for users.

Playground Centre’s proven design + build process puts people front and centre at every step – from concept to completion. Based on user-centred design and universal design principles, our insight-driven, collaborative process delivers tailor-made solutions to the community’s needs.

Value for money

As playground design specialists, we identify opportunities to optimise the available budget, taking into account best use of the site and an equipment selection which delivers ‘maximum play value’ for all ages and abilities.

We can also customise the colour, materials, finishes – and, configurations to create a bespoke solution without the bespoke cost.

Investing in quality equipment made from highly durable, low maintenance materials, chosen for the local environment and conditions, also significantly reduces maintenance, replacement and repair costs.

The PGC-built playground in Ascot Park, Auckland, recently celebrated its 21st birthday complete with all its original parts, while little has changed at One School Global’s fitness-focused playground in Taranaki after more than 16 years’ constant play.

Economic Value

Multiple studies prove proximity to parks and playgrounds significantly boost property values and attract new residents to an area, which in turn increases opportunities for local retail, hospitality and other industries, including tourism. Green spaces have also been linked to lower levels of health care spending, and higher levels of financial wellbeing and security (* 1).

Social Value

Playgrounds are a hub for communities, where people of all ages and abilities can meet to share the joy of play, connection and relaxation together. With loneliness on the rise, multigenerational and inclusive outdoor spaces are a vital conduit for social connection and cohesion.

Several studies have also found well-designed and maintained parks can increase community safety and reduce crime, which in turn further boosts community use and enjoyment of these spaces. One study even found proximity to urban green space can lower the incidence of domestic violence (*2).

Health and Well-Being Value

Playgrounds are vital for the growth and development of children, from cognitive learning, building strength and fitness, to increasing social skills and self-confidence. Numerous studies also show the positive association between access to parks – which increasingly include outdoor fitness equipment - and increased physical activity levels in people of all ages.

For seniors in particular, improved muscle mass, bone density, strength and balance can significantly reduce the risk of falls­ – all while prolonging lifespan and boosting cognitive function and mental health. Better coordination and fine motor skills can also support independence.

People who spend more time in nature have better cognitive functioning and attention; report less stress; and are more likely to exhibit high levels of happiness and well-being.

Environmental Value

Sustainability is key to preserving and enhancing green spaces, and choosing outdoor play and fitness equipment made from sustainably sourced and recyclable materials aligns with community desire to reduce its environmental footprint.

Extensive research shows parks and nature-based recreation spaces in urban areas regulate extreme temperatures, reduce noise pollution, improve air quality, reduce runoff and improve water quality.  These green reserves are often also home to a diverse range of wildlife, birds and plants (*2).

Playground Centre’s team has the expertise and experience to help you design and build active, inclusive and sustainable playgrounds and recreation spaces to nurture your community. Contact us today.


* 1. What is green space worth? Jason Byrne, The Conversation, January 2012.

* 2. 8 positive effects of urban green space on the Environment and the People, Cubicoon, September 2021