The Public Playground Paradox: "Child’s Joy" or Heterotopia of Fear?

Parnell, Rosemary and Pitsikali, Alkistis (2019) The Public Playground Paradox: "Child’s Joy" or Heterotopia of Fear? Children's Geographies. ISSN 1473-3285 (In Press)

Text (Advance online version)
The public playground paradox child s joy or heterotopia of fear.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview
[img] Text
AAM - The Public Playground Paradox Childs Joy or Heterotopia of Fear.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 April 2020.

Download (234kB) | Request a copy
Official URL:


Literature depicts children of the Global North withdrawing from public space to“acceptable islands”. Driven by fears both of and for children, the publicplayground – one such island – provides clear-cut distinctions between childhoodand adulthood. Extending this argument, this paper takes the original approach oftheoretically framing the playground as a heterotopia of deviance, examining –for the first time – three Greek public playground sites in relation to adjacentpublic space. Drawing on an ethnographic study in Athens, findings show fear tounderpin surveillance, control and playground boundary porosity. Normativeclassification as “children’s space” discourages adult engagement. However, in anovel and significant finding, a paradoxical phenomenon sees the playground’spresence simultaneously legitimizing playful behaviour in adjacent public spacefor children and adults. Extended playground play creates alternate orderings andnegotiates norms and hierarchies, suggesting significant wider potential toreconceptualise playground-urban design for an intergenerational public realm.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Heterotopia, Ethnography, Fear, Athens, Public realm, Playground paradox
Subjects: K100 Architecture
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
W200 Design studies
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 09:36
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 08:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics