Adventure playground A space dedicated solely to children’s play, where skilled playworkers enable and facilitate the ownership, development and design of that space – physically, socially and culturally – by the children playing there. It usually offers both indoor and outdoor play experiences.

Ball games area An area designed and designated specifically for football, basketball, and other ball games – also known as a multi-use games area (MUGA).

Children’s Trust Children’s Trusts (sometimes called Children and Young People’s Partnerships) bring together all services for children and young people in an area. Underpinned by the Children Act 2004 duty to cooperate, to focus on the well-being of all children and young people. Well-being is defined as the Every Child Matters Outcomes.

Commissioner The person officially authorised to lead the process for creating a new play space, often referred to as the client.

Consultation A process of mutual exchange of information regarding the project between the commissioning body and potential users and stakeholders.

Design and build A process which unites the design and construction stages, led by the equipment supplier/manufacturer or contractor.

Design brief A document which encapsulates key project information (factual, conceptual and inspirational) to inform the design process.

Designated play space A playable space specifically designed for play and informal recreation.

Doorstep provision A play space within sight of home, where children can play within view of known adults.

Hazard A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, broken glass, a frayed rope, an unseen sharp object etc.

Home zones A home zone is a street or group of streets where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles share the space on equal terms, with cars travelling at little more than walking pace.

Impact absorbing surfacing (IAS) Surfacing used primarily to mitigate the impact of falling from a height. Also commonly referred to as safety or safer surfacing and known as Impact Attenuating Surfacing.

Inclusive play space Play provision that is accessible and welcoming to disabled and non-disabled children.

Industry Standards Europe-wide standards for the safety of play equipment and surfacing.

Standards revised in 2008 as follows:

EN1176 – Playground equipment and surfacing (all the requirements/recommendations for the provision of surfaces, though previously some were in EN1177)

EN1177 – Impact attenuating playground surfacing – determination of critical height (now just methods of testing).

Informal recreation What teenagers do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons: reflecting the fact that as young people get older they no longer identify with the term ‘playing’ but use other terms for their freely chosen, personally directed activities. In this guide, the term ‘play’ is used to include both play and informal recreation

Landscape architect The chartered title for a professional person trained in the planning, designing and managing of open spaces in cities, towns and the countryside. Only a full Member of the Landscape Institute (MLI) may use the title Chartered Landscape Architect, which is a designation protected by law.

Landscape designer A person with experience and understanding of designing landscapes and open spaces; can include artists.

Loose-fill surfacing Loose, as opposed to bound, surfacing, such as sand, grit or bark chip.

Multiple-age use Play spaces or equipment designed and intended to be used flexibly, by children and young people of different ages.

Multi-functional use Play spaces which are designed and intended to be used flexibly, to have an additional function to that of play.

Non-designated play space A public space used by different groups of people for varying reasons, which might also be used for play and informal recreation.

Play What children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons.

Play area Designated play space in a defined area.

Playable space Any public space or facility that children and young people might legitimately use for play and informal recreation

Playbuilder One of 122 unitary or county authorities receiving capital and revenue funding from central government between 2008-2011 to develop a minimum of 22 new or refurbished play areas for 8-13 year olds. Decisions on where and on what this funding is spent on need to have been based on a thorough consultation with children, young people and wider communities across the whole of the authority’s area.

Play pathfinder One of 30 selected unitary or county authorities receiving capital and revenue funding from central government between 2008-2011 to develop a minimum of 28 new or refurbished play areas for 8-13 year olds. In addition these authorities will build a new adventure playground and test innovative ways that they can work with partners to ensure children and young people can access more and better play opportunities now and in the future, embedding play provision into wider strategic policy and practice. Decisions on where and on what this funding is spent need to have been based on a thorough consultation with children, young people and wider communities across the whole of the authority’s area.

Play space A place that is designated primarily for children’s play, including playgrounds and recreation grounds. (Note: this term is used throughout this publication in preference to the term play area, which implies a more well-defined boundary, which is not necessarily appropriate in all cases.)

Play space designer A person with experience and understanding of designing for children and play.

Play types The different ways that children play. Developed originally by Bob Hughes, refer to bibliography.

Play provision The provision of different types of playable space.

Play Shaper is a national training programme that helps the professionals who plan, design, build and manage our communities to understand the importance of play and their role in creating child-friendly public spaces.

Play value The range and quality of play opportunities and experiences offered by a play environment.

Procurement The term commonly used by most local authorities for the process of buying equipment or playgrounds.

Recycled materials This term is intended to cover items of play equipment, surfacing or other built or landscape features containing a proportion of recycled or reused content, such as paths or seats made out of recycled plastic or reclaimed timber. The aim of using recycled materials is to reduce the amount of new natural resources, energy and waste involved in the production process.

Refurbishment Re-development of an existing play area.

Risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by a hazard, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

Risk assessment The process of identifying hazards and evaluating the risks to health and safety arising from these hazards, taking account of existing and proposed controls.

Risk-benefit assessment The process of identifying the risks and benefits of things or activities and deciding the appropriate strategy.

Safety surfacing Refer to Impact absorbing surfacing.

Section 106 agreements Funding from developers secured by local authorities as part of the planning process for new developments, intended to mitigate negative impacts of the proposed development. Also referred to as planning gain.

Shared space Space which is designed for flexible use by different user groups simultaneously.

Slack space Space without any pre-defined function or layout, included within play spaces to extend the flexibility of the space, for children to use as they please.

Sustainably sourced materials The term is intended to cover items that are obtained through production processes that can be continued indefinitely without damage to the environment or adverse impacts on local communities, for example timber harvested from accredited sustainably managed forests.

Teenage space A place designed primarily for teenage users. Also known as a youth space.

Urban designer A designer who focuses on the design of the built environment.

Wet-pour Bound rubber safety surfacing which forms a continuous sealed surface.

Wheel park/wheeled play An area for activities on wheels such as skateboarding, rollerblading and BMX biking.


ANGSt Accessible Natural Green Space Standard

APSE Association for Public Service Excellence

CAA Comprehensive Area Assessment

CABE Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

CIL Community Infrastructure Levy

CLG Department for Communities and Local Government

DCMS Department for Culture, Media and Sport

DDA Disability Discrimination Act

DfE Department for Education

DfT Department for Transport

DH Department of Health

DPD Development Plan Documents

FiT Fields in Trust (formerly the National Playing Fields Association)

GIS Geographic Information System

GLA Greater London Assembly

I&DeA Improvement and Development Agency

LAA Local Area Agreement

LDD Local Development Document

LDF Local Development Framework

LDS Local Development Scheme

LPA Local Planning Authorities

LPS Local Provision Standards

LSP Local Strategic Partnerships

LTP Local Transport Plans

NPFA National Playing Fields Association (now FiT)

NICE National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

NIS National Indicator Set

ODPM Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

PAD Planning and Design for Outdoor Sport and Play (Published by FiT and replaces the Six Acre Standard)

PCT Primary Care Trust

PIs Performance Indicators

PPG Planning Policy Guidance

PPS Planning Policy Statement

PSA Public Service Agreement

PTE Passenger Transport Executives

RSS Regional Spatial Strategy

SA Sustainability Appraisal

SCI Statement of Community Involvement

SCS Sustainable Community Strategy

SDS Spatial Development Strategy

SEA Strategic Environmental Assessment

SPD Supplementary Planning Documents

TCPA Town and Country Planning Act