Blog Archives

Park design and children’s active play: a microscale spatial analysis of intensity of play in Olmsted’s Delaware Park

This paper offers a microscale exploration of the role of park design on the intensity of physical activity among youth. The actual, unstructured use of a park—specifically, Delaware Park, an Olmsted-designed park in Buffalo, New York—by ninety-four children was observed and analyzed objectively using geographic information systems, global positioning systems, and accelerometers. Data were analyzed at the scale of 25 ft × 25 ft cells overlaid as a grid on the entire park. Results from the regression analysis show that particular features of parks—especially complexity in landscape surfaces, proximity to sport facilities and playgrounds, and the availability of pedestrian trails—enable greater intensity of youth physical activity in a park.

Neighborhood Parks and Reduction in Stress among Adolescents: Results from Buffalo, New York


Planners and landscape architects have long recognized the critical role of green space in urban environments. This cross-sectional field study of 68 adolescents determined the association between percent neighborhood park area and perceived stress among adolescents, while controlling for physical activity. This study is the first to examine this association using objective measures of park area and adolescents physical activity. A multivariate regression model indicated that percentage of park area (β = -62.573, p < 0.03) predicts perceived stress among adolescents. Access to neighborhood parks buffers adolescents against perceived stress after controlling for socio-economic status and physical activity. Policy recommendations for incorporating parks into neighborhood design are given.