Philadelphia, PA – Green Schoolyards America’s CEO, Sharon Danks, traveled to Philadelphia on February 15th to join radio station WHYY and the local community in a conversation about the need for more playgrounds at Philly’s schools. More than 100 community members gathered for a lively event that included dinner, presentations, and a discussion.
Research conducted by WHYY’s journalist Nina Feldman uncovered the fact that two-thirds of Philadelphia’s public elementary schools don’t have playgrounds, and that the presence of playgrounds is highly correlated with income levels of each neighborhood. The lower income areas of the city do not have playgrounds, leaving children to play as they can on unimproved, unshaded asphalt that often doubles as parking space during the day—as shown in the photograph above.
During the event on February 15th, Feldman interviewed a grandparent (above) and her children about what the lack of playground space means for her family. Danks gave a presentation about the benefits that green schoolyards afford in other cities,, and advocated for greening school grounds in Philadelphia to provide improved learning and play spaces that will connect children with nature on a daily basis and offer a wide range of health benefits. Philadelphia School District Director of Capital Programs, Danielle Floyd, also spoke about the school district’s budget realities and their hopes for being able to improve playgrounds across the District.
Feldman then led a panel discussion with Danks, Floyd, and Plan Philly’s Managing Editor, Ariella Cohen, to discuss the future of building more playgrounds in Philadelphia.
We hope that this conversation and the high level of interest expressed by the local community will spark a shift in the way that the Philadelphia School District uses its grounds in the future.
For more information about this event and WHYY’s recent reporting about playgrounds in Philadelphia and San Francisco, please follow the links below.