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Contact: Justin Park Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator Colorado Center for Community Development University of Colorado Denver | College of Architecture & Planning Mailing Address: CAP, Campus Box 126, PO Box 173364, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364 Physical Address: 1512 Larimer Street, Suite 750 Phone: 303-315-5866 | Fax: 303-315-5872


DISCOVERY OF THE KEY TO HEALTHY CHILDREN: PLAY Learning Landscape’s initiative to renovate playgrounds encourage DPS students engage in more active play. December 8, 2010- Denver, CO- When the bell ring for recess at Bromwell Elementary School in Denver, no longer do the children come grazing out of their classrooms to an outdated, uninviting, gravel covered play structure consisting of minimal equipment. As the first school to receive a new play structure, Bromwell’s students now have new, brightly colored, engaging play equipment as well as a community garden. In an attempt to help lower childhood obesity rates and raise activity levels children, Learning Landscapes, part of the Colorado Center for Community Development, is taking the initiative by renovating all 97 playgrounds in the Denver Public School (DPS) system. The project began in 1998 and is planned to be completed in the fall of 2012. Each playground costs a half million dollars to renovate, and thus far, the project has been funded by bonds, grants, and donations. In 2008, Learning Landscapes received portions of a $454 million bond, the largest bond ever approved by Colorado voters. Currently, there have been no other projects like this completed in the country, though similar projects are currently going on in Boston and Houston. Boston’s project is of similar size and is competing with Denver to be the first city to completely renovate every playground in an entire county. Learning Landscapes is working with architecture graduate students at CU Denver to plan the layout of each playground. Many of the new structures will include gardens as well as brightly colored play equipment, which has been proven to be more inviting. Giving children these new play structures is part of a healthy lifestyle change Learning Landscapes hopes to instill in them. In addition, exercise and diet curriculum will be implemented in the schools by partner organization IPLAY, so not only will kids now be able and encouraged to be more active, they will learn why it’s important, and how they can do it.

‘Building community through play’ is the organization’s slogan and is exactly what they aim to do. By creating new, innovative avenues to encourage engaged learning, active play opportunities, and inviting scenery, the organization will fulfill their main goal of reconnecting communities with their public schools. The playgrounds become more than just a place to play, they become inviting atmospheres where families can come to socialize in a safe environment, and bond with their families and neighbors while engaging in active play. As Learning Landscapes says, they “create a site for learning and discovery that is fun and ultimately celebrates the cultural and historic character of each distinct neighborhood.” About Learning Landscapes Learning Landscapes is part of the Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD), a community service center for the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. The Center seeks to improve the quality of community life by addressing a broad range of contemporary community problems using community development approaches. The Colorado Center works in communities large and small, rural and urban, in towns that never thought they needed outside assistance, and in neighborhoods historically underserved. For more information, please visit ###

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