Return to Benefits Toolkit

System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC)

Deborah A. Cohen and Thomas L. McKenzie

SOPARC is a direct observation tool for assessing use of parks and play areas. The tool provides protocols for observers to track users’ physical activity levels, activity types, genders, and estimated age and race/ethnicity groupings during a specified time frame using momentary time sampling. It can also be used to evaluate park attributes such as accessibility, usability, supervision, and organization. SOPARC requires direct observation of the area to be evaluated and coding of the results. A full-text user guide, protocols, mapping strategies for the target area, worksheets, training videos, and an app are available.


Recreational & social value, Health & well-being, Play equipment, Active living

The LPS Benefits Toolkit is a compilation of online calculators and tools that can be used to estimate landscape performance. The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) compiles and writes descriptions of the tools in the Benefits Toolkit. LAF has no involvement in the development, review, or maintenance of the tools. If you have questions or comments on the Toolkit itself, contact us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Help build the LPS: Find out how to submit a case study and other ways to contribute.