School playground design: a projective approach with school pupils and staff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper presents original findings from a project for the landscape improvement of two primary schools' grounds using a Projective technique developed at Heriot-Watt University by Aspinall based on the work of Kelly (1955) in Personal Construct Psychology and Peled (1990) in Ecoanalysis. Pupils and staff at both schools were invited to respond to photographs of possible playground scenes and indicate how design elements important to them relate in spatial and functional terms. The study reveals significant differences between pupil and staff responses and between girls and boys. It demonstrates the value of the Projective techniques used compared with more conventional participatory design exercises. Pupils' needs and desires are complex and as much activity-based as artefact-based. The study confirms the inadequacy of existing playgrounds and the potential for designing much more child-responsive improvements for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-140
Number of pages17
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • personal construct
  • psychology
  • Ecoanalysis
  • playground design
  • projective method


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