Playgrounds are designated areas for children in the public outdoor environment. They have been criticised for reflecting a stereotypical perspective on children instead of children’s own perspectives or needs, and for reinforcing the message that children are not supposed to play in the rest of the public environment. Children of different ages and others who visit playgrounds are rarely actively asked how they actually perceive them and what preferences they have. However, it is important that playground managers hear the voices of users if playgrounds are to become part of the sustainable local environment and actually add opportunities for play and well-being. The aim of this research project is to investigate whether playground use and playground users can be understood, in order to create a play provision that contributes to a better life environment. Is there a need for public playgrounds and if so, what is needed? What can users teach managers? Case studies of playground provision and potential users (school children, parents of preschool children and staff at preschool groups) were conducted. To get a holistic and complex picture of the use, the studies were limited to two small communities, and information was collected from a substantial proportion of the actual users. The next step will be to study the perspectives of playground managers, which is an ongoing project. A few children dismissed playground use as boring, but the rest of the users surveyed claimed to use local playgrounds. The following differences between the user groups were discovered: •Children described playgrounds as social places, but were also interested in the equipment and the physical play. Variation between playgrounds was preferred. Access to alternative places for play - specially green areas - was popular •Preschool groups wanted playgrounds where many children could be activated. •Parents preferred playgrounds close to the home. Some parents used playgrounds for socialising and meeting others. All the groups surveyed used public playgrounds, and playground use had social dimensions for children and parents. However, playgrounds appeared to be insufficient as children’s only place for outdoor play. Children have much to say about playgrounds, and playground managers could learn much by consulting and involving users and by uncovering the differences there are between user groups