Universally Designed Playground Needs Assessment for Flag Pole Hill in White Rock Lake Park, Dallas, Texas
Description: There is limited anthropological research on inclusive play and universally designed playgrounds and this study aims to make some contribution in this field. This was a qualitative research study guided by anthropological theory and methods, conducted for For the Love of the Lake (FTLOTL) Foundation. FTLOTL is a non-profit organization located in Dallas, Texas, dedicated to White Rock Lake Park's maintenance. In 2014, FTLOTL became of the view that the park's current playgrounds lacked accessibility for differently-abled children. Therefore, FTLOTL decided to undertake a renovation project of Flag Pole Hill playground to incorporate inclusiveness and diversity in the playground design. The overarching objective of this exploratory, ethnographic needs assessment was to provide insights for an inclusive playground using universal design for families with special needs children. Fourteen parents, each with at least one child having physical, social, or intellectual disabilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Texas metroplex were interviewed. The interviews were semi structured, each lasting for about an hour and were digitally recorded. Later these audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and then coded using Dedoose. The coded data was synthesized into coherent themes and sub-themes and finally organized into formal research findings. Observations were made of existing universally designed as well as typical playgrounds in this region. All parents interviewed supported the playground initiative and gave suggestions for physical accessibility along with social inclusion. They expressed their frustrations and apprehensions about the usability of current playgrounds. They also shared their preferences for facilities, features, and equipment to support their children's physical and social needs as well as their own. There was a unanimous agreement that a universally designed playground would have recreational, therapeutic and emotional benefits for participants and would improve the quality of their family lives and build a more closely-knit community.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Hasan, Hira
Partner: UNT Libraries