Impacts of Decreasing Backyard Sizes in Greenfields Developments

Conducted by the Curtin Centre for Sport and Recreation Research for the Outer Metropolitan Growth Council Group, led by the City of Rockingham, this project explored the impacts of the gradual reduction of the size of backyards resulting from higher density development, larger dwellings and changing community needs.

The project identified trends indicating that as backyard size decreases, less time is spent in private outdoor space. This reduced utilisation of backyards, including less use for different activities, may have potential consequences for health and wellbeing when considered within broader academic literature. Importantly, these trends and their potential impacts appear most significant for children.

The project has laid out important recommendations for future research into the role of suburban green space for both children and adults, and consumer education and design challenges for development industry and government housing policy. These recommendations extend to government open space planning policy, given there are likely to be significant individual and community health and wellbeing benefits in having local parks well used by those with limited private green space.

Principal Areas of Enquiry:

Urban and Regional Planning
Structural Adjustments and Changing Demographics

Secondary Areas of Enquiry:

Climate Change and Water

Lead Researchers:

Assoc. Prof. Garry Middle - Centre for Sport and Recreation Research
Professor Marian Tye - Centre for Sport and Recreation Research

Research Team:

Dr Isaac Middle

Industry Collaborators

Outer Metropolitan Growth Council Group

City of Rockingham

Advisory Group: Vanessa Jackson (WALGA), Peter Ricci (City of Rockingham), Kelly White (City of Wanneroo), and Ian MacRae (City of Armadale)

Industry Partners

Department of Sport and Recreation WA
Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)

Project Collection


Impacts of Decreasing Backyard sizes in Perth Greenfield Developments: Full Research Report