Play is one of the most important things children can do. When play takes root in a community, it brings outsized benefits for children, from their well-being to safety and beyond.
From Aspen Institute’s State of Play and extensive regional research initiatives set in motion by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, we know that play is essential to a child’s healthy development. However, the scarcity of places conducive to unstructured play has restricted access for many kids, particularly those from lower-income, rural, and Black and Brown communities, limiting their ability to participate in these vital experiences.
The Built to Play program has deployed $16.9M in Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation funds through KABOOM! and The Skatepark Project — established national leaders — to grantees. The result? Greater access to quality play spaces and skateparks in Western New York and Southeast Michigan communities that need them most. Gehl was asked to assess the impact of the Built to Play projects to better understand their role in children’s daily lives, community development, and broader public space design.