Community Schoolyards: The Park Solution Hiding in Plain Sight

Mobile Workshop

City agencies and school districts across the country are finding new solutions for park access by transforming schoolyards into high-quality community play spaces. Schoolyard transformations offer solutions in built-out urban areas with few options and resources for park expansions, and in more sparsely populated areas that lack many dedicated park amenities. In all cases, they offer new ways of combining resources and elevating underperforming public spaces to yield new impacts in recreation, health, education, and community cohesion.

The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit leader in schoolyard transformations, will lead a tour of schoolyards they have helped to transform in South Philadelphia. Speakers on and off the bus will describe the partnerships, processes, and impacts associated with schoolyard programs in Philadelphia, New York City, and other communities. Public agency and community leaders will explain the roles they serve in realizing program efficiencies and impacts. The tour will end with a brief networking opportunity at Bok Bar, the rooftop venue of the transformed Bok Technical High School (now a mixed-use maker space). Bok Bar, located across from one of the schoolyards, offers one of the most exciting views of the Philadelphia skyline.  

Please note: Wear comfortable shoes. In case of rain, participants can remain on the bus during the tour.


  • Learn how schoolyard transformation programs have been launched and sustained.
  • Learn about the inter-agency processes and agreements that enable schoolyard transformations.
  • Learn about the potential public and private funding sources that can advance schoolyard transformations.

Tour Leaders

Owen Franklin

Pennsylvania State Director, Trust for Public Land