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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Blue-Green Playscapes: Exploring Children's Places in Stormwater Spaces in Augustenborg, Malmo

Mottaghi, Misagh; Kylin, Maria; Kopljar, Sandra; Sternudd, Catharina


The urbanisation of cities increases the demands on, and complexity of, urban land use. Urban densification is challenging urban green space. Cities have responded to this challenge by adopting a multiple-use strategy where different functions share space. Shrinking open space has to contain solutions for everyday functions such as bicycle parking, waste sorting, blue-green stormwater systems, and playscapes. Values and functions that can reinforce and amplify each other are therefore of interest to study. The present article explores the possibilities for blue-green solutions (BGS) to be used as part of children's playscapes. BGS are aboveground, ecological stormwater facilities, introduced to prevent flooding and support biodiversity while adding recreational and aesthetic qualities to the urban environment. The objective is to discuss the extent to which ecological and social values can reinforce each other in terms of encouraging children to engage with BGS natural elements. The researchers have studied the Augustenborg residential neighbourhood in Malmo. The area was primarily investigated through a postal survey, which identified a remodelled park with a floodable sunken lawn as a potentially attractive area for children's activities. The park was analysed as a potential playscape and supported by on-site observations. The study shows that even if BGS largely meet children's play values, due to existing socio-spatial structures, children are not using the offered play features. The article discusses the results in terms of how stormwater management may enhance the actualisation of play potentials in children's everyday living environment.


affordance; blue-green solutions; children; everyday life; play possibilities; urban design; urban open space; urban water management

Published in

Urban planning
2021, Volume: 6, number: 2, pages: 175-188