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Examining the Implementation of Play Streets

A Systematic Review of the Grey Literature

Bridges, Christina N., MPH; Prochnow, Tyler M., MEd; Wilkins, Emily C., BS; Pollack Porter, Keshia M., PhD; Umstattd Meyer, M. Renée, PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: April 23, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001015
Systematic/Narrative Review: PDF Only

Context: Outdoor play has been described as essential for healthy childhood development. Lack of safety is one barrier to children participating in outdoor play. Play Streets are an intervention to help increase outdoor play by temporarily closing public streets (closures are recurring or episodic) to traffic, creating a safe place for active play.

Objective: This systematic grey literature review aimed to examine and describe what is known about implementing Play Streets using the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework, which is widely used in implementation research.

Design: A systematic search for and review of nonacademic, or grey, literature was conducted using Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar, and a general Google search.

Eligibility Criteria: Included literature was published in English, through December 2017, in nonacademic sources (ie, organizational/grant/municipal reports, newspapers, conference presentations, previous intervention advertisement materials, Web-based articles) or found in reference lists of academic articles about Play Streets, Pop-up Parks, or Open Streets/Ciclovías with a Play Street component.

Study Selection: Resources were selected that documented Play Streets, which are defined as recurring or episodic temporary street closures to traffic that provide the public with a no-cost, safe space to actively play and be physically active. These approaches are designed primarily for youth and may include various marked play areas, loose equipment, and/or group activities.

Main Outcome Measures: RE-AIM measures guided data extraction.

Results: Of the 36 articles composing the final sample, 100% reported on implementation, although the level of detail varied. Only 14 of 36 articles reported measures of effectiveness; limited information was provided for other RE-AIM components.

Conclusions: In the grey literature, there are several inconsistencies in how the implementation of Play Streets is reported and level of detail. Specific details regarding implementing and evaluating Play Streets are needed to support widespread replication.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Departments of Health, Human Performance, & Recreation (Ms Bridges and Mr Prochnow) and Public Health (Ms Wilkins and Dr Umstattd Meyer), College of Health and Human Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas; and Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Pollack Porter).

Correspondence: M. Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, Department of Public Health, College of Health and Human Sciences, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97343, Waco, TX 76798 (

This project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the Physical Activity Research Center (PARC). Specifically, this study was supported by a subagreement from the Johns Hopkins University with funds provided under grant no. 81438042 from the Regents of the University of California; University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the UCSD, the Johns Hopkins University, or Baylor University.

The authors thank Thomas L. Schmid, PhD, at the Physical Activity and Health Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Amelie A. Hecht at the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for their involvement in the development of the manuscript.

The authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.

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