017 PaPs_2019_The Art of Play

The Art of Play

Despite Serbia’s increased focus on promoting inclusive education and early childhood development and efforts to reform the social welfare system, children with disabilities remain among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in Serbian society. Additionally, children with and without disabilities have limited opportunities to interact in out-of-school activities.

None of the playgrounds in Serbia is fully accessible to children with disabilities, nor is they fully inclusive environments where all children can learn, interact, and have fun together on an equal basis. Existing playgrounds lack accessibility for children with various physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities, limiting their ability to engage in meaningful play and learning experiences. As a result, children with disabilities often spend their free time at home, unable to play outdoors. Additionally, parents of children with disabilities hesitate to visit existing playgrounds due to social distance, prejudice, and a lack of understanding from other parents, which poses a significant barrier to social inclusion.

Therefore, UNICEF Office, CO Serbia, and Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities of Belgrade (SAPDB/SSOSIB) aimed a project to design two inclusive playgrounds, fostering social inclusion for children with disabilities through high-quality outdoor recreational activities. PaPs was a partner on this project.

The focal point of the project involves establishing a children’s playground designed to cater to the needs of every child, irrespective of gender or disability. Furthermore, the program aims to develop a model of inclusivity, rooted in principles of equity and the inclusion of individuals with disabilities.

Children’s play serves as a powerful tool for transforming community attitudes and empowering individuals by enhancing social skills, self-confidence, and positive relationships. It works to improve the inclusion and well-being of children with disabilities in two ways: by challenging community perceptions and by fostering self-empowerment among children with disabilities. The first aspect is crucial for reducing stigma, while the second empowers children and families to recognize their potential and advocate for societal changes. This dual impact, both at the community and individual levels, helps to diminish the isolation of children with disabilities and integrate them more fully into community life.

The playground design required accessibility for children in wheelchairs who require full-time assistance, while also offering engaging play activities for children without disabilities. It serves as a prototype for inclusive playgrounds that could be replicated across Serbia.

The inclusive playground in Ćićevac was brought to live based on the project of student Anja Trivić, while the inclusive playground in Belgrade, located on Ada Ciganlija, was realized based on the collaborative efforts of students Katarina Stojić, Nevena Vujić, Aleksandra Đalović, Tijana Lovrić, and Zlata Sanojević.

The project was undertaken by the Public Art & Public Space (PaPs) program at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, during the spring semester of 2018/2019. It was conducted within the Participatory Urban Design Master Studio course, with active involvement from all relevant stakeholders.

The inclusive playground in Ćićevac marks the first of its kind in Serbia, representing the inaugural inclusive children’s playground in the country. Moreover, this project holds the distinction of being the first student-led endeavor in the history of the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade to be realized under real-world conditions.

Participants in the project:


  • Municipality Ćićevac  / beneficiary
  • Elementary school “Dositej Obradović” / Actors in the process (kids in school)
  • University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture / Project design and implementation of the participatory process
  • Local public institutions / Source of the information and ’preparation of the terrain’


  • SAPDB / Responsible for project realisation
  • Unicef Unicef / Financing
  • Association “Okular” / Process coordinator
  • Numerous citizens and kids of Ćićevca


  • Private firms / Produce equipment specialised for inclusive playgrounds

Mentoring team:

PhD Zoran Đukanović, ass.prof.; PhD Ksenija Lalović, ass.prof.; Rajko Korica, prof.; Predrag Jovanović, asistent; Stefan Slavić, MSc.Arh.; Marija Kosović, MSc.Arh.; Dušan Obradović, MSc.Arh.

Guest critics from University of Sassary:

Nađa Beretić PhD, Assoc. Prof. Alessandro Plaisant PhD, Valentina Talu PhD


Ana Ristić, Ana Simić, Anja Trivić, Marija Milijašević, Marko Jovanović, Marko Jovičić, Miljan Okuka, Aleksandra Đalović, Katarina Stojić, Nevena Vujić, Petar Đorđević, Sara Aćimov, Tijana Lovrić, Zlata Sanojević, Sara Stanković

Actors in the participatory proces:

Velimir Knežević, director of SSOSIB, Project manager

Regina De Dominicis, director of Unicef, Projec manager

Jelena Radivojević, Associate professional SSOSIB-a, project coordinator

Vesna Dejanović, project coordinator

Marina Bogdanović, project coordinator

kids for the elementary school “Dositej Obradović“, Ćićevac

Aleksandra Milutinović, professor of Serbian language

Dragana Kuzmanović, professor of mathematics

Suzana Gajić, Vice president of Okular

Zlatan Krkić, Mayor of the Municipality of Ćićevac

Jovica Bogdanović, chief engineer of the Municipality of Ćićevac

on site / gallery

inspiration / gallery

faculty work / gallery

renderings / gallery

built / gallery

related links

video links

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