Intergenerational Park Design for Active and Engaged Communities

Why it matters

Local and neighbourhood parks within suburban areas in SE Queensland are often non-stimulating and boring. They lack challenging and appealing equipment and spaces for all ages and do not meet the needs of the wider community. In addition, physical inactivity remains the greatest public health problem of the 21st century. Therefore, this study focused on suburban parks as community places that can be designed to inspire all ages to be physically active, and provide opportunities to build social connections across generations.

Project Overview

This project helped connect environmental design and landscape architecture with health and wellbeing, to promote evidence-based design. Using a transdisciplinary approach, the research team observed existing park use within 12 parks in the Moreton Bay Region; investigated barriers to park use and physical activity; and formulated novel, evidence-based recommendations within Intergenerational Parks: A Design Guide for Physical Activity and Social Engagement Across Generations. The guide specifies innovative salutogenic design principles and suggests park features and characteristics that can be used by local governments and park designers across Australia.

Project Funding

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Funding Scheme (Project ID LP160101341) (2017-2020), with additional financial contributions made by Moreton Bay Regional Council and Conrad Gargett.

Project Outcomes

Design guide for physical activity and social engagement across generations.

The evidence-based suggestions published in this Design Guide identifies how to create opportunities for intergenerational physical activity and how to engage people socially within neighbourhood parks. The document is designed to help you achieve designs that will entice, enable, and engage a variety of age groups and is broken down into three main sections: (1) Introduction & Background, (2) Findings & Recommendations, and (3) Checklist & Design Ideas.

Graphic Design by Jessica Cheers, QUT Design Lab












Project Team 

The transdisciplinary QUT team representing landscape architecture, urban planning, physical activity and health, and gerontology, has significant experience working with children and ageing adults. The key industry partners include playground designers, Landscape Architects and physical activity advocates, and brought a broad range of knowledge and expertise to this exciting project.

QUT Research Team:

Associate Professor Debra Cushing

Dr Trcey Washington 

Professor Laurie Buys 

Professor Stewert Trost 

Other Team Members:

Wes Mortensen, Moreton Bay Regional Council 

Tobias Volbert, Playscape Creations and 7 Senses Foundation

Amanda Sutherland

Bob Boyd

Sheree Hughes

Project Partners:

Moreton Bay Regional Council 

Playscape Creations

7 Senses Foundation

Conrad Gargett

The Heart Foundation of Australia

The National Wellness Institute of Australia