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Journal of Urban Design (2015)
This paper presents findings from a research project aimed at understanding children’s perceptions of play spaces, with an emphasis on safety and fun. Six places that were considered by the respondents of the first-stage research as having both attributes of safety and fun were observed. The findings show that these spaces are generally separated from motor vehicles and the child and adult users of these spaces show socially acceptable behaviours and a positive response toward children’s outdoor play. Nevertheless, the findings also point out the significant differences in the characteristics of the safe and fun play spaces in Tokyo, Japan, and Bandung, Indonesia, in terms of their user behaviour, space availability, play affordances and availability of natural elements.
Health & Place (2016)
Studies of seasonal barriers for outdoor activities seldom view families’ play practices as grounded in the everyday experience of the natural elements. This paper brings 20 families’ mundane outdoor play ex- periences in Auckland's temperate climate to the fore. Through drawings and interviews, families re- siding in both suburban detached houses and central city apartments revealed locally constituted beliefs about appropriate play spaces (e.g. garden, park). While the majority of participants retreated to indoor activities during winter, some children and their parents viewed the outdoors as the only opportunity for ‘real fun’. We advocate the importance of a better understanding of children's seasonal outdoor play. In particular, we argue that in order to promote year-round healthy levels of outdoor activities it is ne- cessary to understand variations in societal, neighbourhood and family values attributed to outdoor activities. Further, to develop a more nuanced understanding of the locational complexities of outdoor play it is important to understand the meanings of, and practices associated with, seasonal and weather conditions in different international locations.
Models of urban planning after authoritarian modernism raise the question of democratic control over the city and the possibility of imagining as a collective act. The paper examines systemic hindrances to free-thinking, and thus free-acting, embedded in urban communities. Through the case study of recent work by the art collective Department of Play, it illustrates the rationale for engaging public imagination specifically via play as world-building; and it posits the potential implications and limits of such activity as an intervention into city planning processes. Interested in liminal spaces between territory, language and social affiliation, the collective advances an agenda of productive dissent in public space through play and performance. Department of Play begins from the position that we can only plan that which we imagine, and thus exists as an effort to free the public imagination from modes of thinking dictated by the capitalist context.
Built Environment (1999)
The paper begins by reviewing the discourses of sustainable development and children's rights, before mapping-out their significance to play and playgrounds. The paper then draws on fieldwork conducted in two case study communities in Wales to investigate the spatial and social places of play. The paper concludes by questioning the sustainability of playgrounds and by urging reconsideration of the role of playgrounds in the built environment.
Built Environment (1978-) (1992)
While public spaces in city centres still provide for the traditional uses for which they were created, today - as the example of the sidewalk cafe shows - their attraction lies more in their ability to generate individual pleasure and play.
Environment and behavior (1998)
Children growing up in the inner city are at risk for a range of negative developmental outcomes. Do barren, inner-city neighborhood spaces compromise the everyday activities and experiences necessary for healthy development? Sixty-four urban public housing outdoor spaces (27 low vegetation, 37 high vegetation) were observed on four separate occasions. Overall, inner-city children's everyday activities and access to adults appeared remarkably healthy; of the 262 children observed, most (73%) were involved in some type of play, and most groups of children (87%) were supervised to some degree. In relatively barren spaces, however, the picture was considerably less optimistic: Levels of play and access to adults were approximately half as much as those found in spaces with more trees and grass, and the incidence of creative play was significantly lower in barren spaces than in relatively green spaces
Children, Youth and Environments (2004)
In this paper I present childhood biographies of three people who grew up in or near a public housing development located on the border between the contrasting communities of Yorkville and East Harlem in New York City. Stories of their middle childhood (ages 11-13) poignantly capture the social and spatial evolution of play and recreation in New York City from the 1930s until present time. Based on in-depth childhood autobiographies and archival materials from the New York Times, I demonstrate changes in children’s access to play and recreation space, how children negotiate their lived experiences in these spaces, and how these spaces reflect differing representations of childhood over time. While play and recreation are, of course, a broad range of activities that occur in multiple settings and under various forms of supervision, the focus of this paper is upon the role of the streets, public parks and playgrounds in children’s everyday lives. Preliminary results suggest that children’s access to public play spaces in New York City has declined over time. This decline can be attributed to public disinvestment in neighborhood parks and playgrounds, perceived (and real) violence in these spaces, and more recently, to the commercialization and privatization of playtime activities.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (2001)
This study investigated influences of residential street layout on neighboring. The study design was quasi-experimental with one pretest and two posttest measurements in an intervention group and two control groups. Data were collected using a recently developed questionnaire (MMN) and through field observations. The intervention implemented in this study was a transformation of three sections of residential streets into street parks, entailing considerable changes in street floor and spatial layout, provisions of street furniture like benches, planting of trees and flower beds, installation of play equipment, and prohibition of traffic and parked vehicles. Supportive acts of neighboring, neighbor annoyance, and children's play showed an overall increase in the intervention streets, interpreted as a sign of increased involvement in the neighborhood. Weak social ties and neighborhood attachment showed more complex patterns of changes, depending on demographic factors. It is suggested that symbolic effects of the changes may be more significant than functional effects, and thus that a change of neighborhood identity is an important mechanism.
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1980)
Streets have become dangerous, unlivable environments, yet most people live on them. Streets need to be redefined as sanctuaries; as livable places; as communities; as resident territory; as places for play, greenery, and local history. Neighborhoods should be protected, though not to the point of being exclusionary. The neighborhood unit, the environmental area and the Woonerf are examined as models for the protected neighborhood. The criteria for a protected neighborhood depend on acceptable speeds, volumes, noise levels, reduction of accidents, and rights-of-way for pedestrians.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (1987)
Uses and perceptions of nine nearby, easily-accessible outdoor areas were studied by interviewing 89 residents of a multiple-family housing development. Judgments of perceived sizes, size adequacy, use frequencies, preferences, and perceived importance were elicited, along with descriptions of personal uses. The findings reveal consistent differences between three general types of areas which serve distinct functions. The yards serve territorial needs, the common areas and public athletic fields afford recreational opportunities, and a nearby wooded area with a pond provides a highly preferred setting for a variety of nature-related pursuits. Although most ratings varied across the different types, ratings of perceived importance were high for each. The findings of this study clarify the relationships among physical size, use patterns and preferences for different areas. They also illustrate the diverse affordances of different urban nature areas, and emphasize the important role that nature contacts play in the everyday lives of urban residents.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (2012)
This study strives to determine ways to increase the use of outdoor spaces, particularly spaces that have an abundance of natural elements, in environmentally friendly housing developments. Empirical data were obtained by observing residents' behaviors (445 observations) and interviewing 61 residents in Kuemhwa Greenvill, a new housing project in Giheung Sanggal, South Korea. The outdoor natural environments were classified into four categories: reserved natural environment, built environment with a natural appearance, built environment as a green buffer, and built environment with natural elements. The survey revealed that, typically, the natural environments were utilized less than the non-natural environments. Because natural environments did not support various outdoor activities, only persons in certain limited age groups (adults and adults with children) and small groups of one or two people used them. In particular, children's play activities and social gatherings rarely occurred in the natural environments. Apart from physical, psychological, and social accessibility issues, the residents' preferences for the use of non-natural environments were related to their needs and the physical features of the environments.
Journal of Planning Education and Research (2015)
Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) had an enormous influence on urban design theories and practices. This study aims to operationalize Jacobs's conditions for a vital urban life. These are (1) mixed use, (2) small blocks, (3) aged buildings, and (4) a sufficient concentration of buildings. Jacobs suggested that a vital urban life could be sustained by an urban realm that promotes pedestrian activity for various purposes at various times. Employing multilevel binomial models, we empirically verified that Jacobs's conditions for urban diversity play a significant role with regard to pedestrian activity.
New media & society (2010)
The current deployment of large screens in city centre public spaces requires a substantial rethinking of our understanding of the relationship of media to urban space. Drawing on a case study of the Public Space Broadcasting project launched in the UK in 2003, this article argues that large screens have the potential to play a significant role in promoting public interaction. However, the realization of this potential requires a far-reaching investigation of the role of media in the construction of complex public spaces and diverse public cultures.
Journal of the American Planning Association (2001)
We worry these days that public space, indeed the public realm, is shrinking. This essay examines the underlying causes of such discontent, in the context of historic and recent transformations in social values and public ethos. Seemingly, three major trends - privatization, globalization, and the communications revolution - will continue to shape the future demand and supply of public space. Planners must anticipate the effects of such trends, but also focus on the concept of public life, which encompasses both private and public realms. The article concludes by reviewing the role that planners may play in advancing the cause of public space and the opportunities and initiatives for the future.
The Library Quarterly (2002)
The last decade has seen a relative boom in the construction of central pub lic libraries across North America. The social roles these public institutions play for society is a pressing issue in light of decreasing public funding, ad vancing information technologies, and an economy increasingly informa- tion-driven and decentralized. This article examines the public's use of two of Canada's largest central libraries, the Toronto Reference Library and the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch. The data gathered support the notion that these libraries fulfill many of the normative ideals of a successful public place and serve as important resources in the increasingly informationdriven, knowledge -based economy. We conclude that private market interests encroaching upon this institution, and not advances in information technologies, represent a threat to its multifaceted role as a successful public place.
Journal of the American Planning Association (2003)
This article discusses successful common grounds for children public settings that enable the harmonious intermingling of children of different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities and that encourage their social interchange, play, educational development, and collaboration. Our study focused on three types of public space that tend to bring these children together: the public school, the park, and the neighborhood community center. The research employed a variety of methods to study the interaction of children 9 to 12 years of age. Field work took place at four sites in West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and the San Fernando Valley that enjoy a high level of intermixing and have a reputation for promoting diversity. Subjects in the research included children, teachers, and administrators. The article highlights the findings of the field work and concludes with a comparative analysis of the different settings and a discussion of the environmental and programmatic attributes that contribute to their success.
Environment and behavior (2014)
This article examines park use in relation to neighborhood social (safety and poverty) and urban form (pedestrian infrastructure and street network pattern) characteristics among youth and adult subpopulations defined by age and gender. We utilized System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) and Geographic Information Systems to objectively measure park use and park and neighborhood characteristics in 20 neighborhood parks. Heterogeneous negative binomial regression models indicated that the relationship between park use and types of activity settings, and park use and neighborhood attributes vary by age and gender. In general, the study found that park and activity setting size; activity settings such as playgrounds, basketball courts, pool and water features, shelters, and picnic areas; and availability of sidewalks and intersections in the park’s neighborhood were positively associated with park use, whereas crime, poverty, and racial heterogeneity of the surrounding neighborhood were negatively associated with park use.
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (2008)
This article discusses how urban public space impacts upon children's socialization. There are two points of view on the relationship between children and the urban neighbourhood, whether one considers the position of children in urban public space or the position of this environment in children's socialization. One can define the relationship in terms of the need to protect children against the perils of the city; this results in a spatial segregation of children into separate (play) spaces. Alternatively, one can argue that children should be able to move independently and safely through urban public space in order to make full use of the socializing opportunities offered by the city; this results in criteria for a child-friendly city. Leaving aside abstract images of the ideal neighbourhood for children, urban public space should also be considered as a co-educator. Theories of urban public space as a co-educator require empirical information about the way in which this space impacts upon existing processes of socialization and the citizenship of children. Three cases from the city of Ghent are presented to illustrate this discussion.
Journal of the American Planning Association (1995)
In the 1970s, the Dutch city of Delft adopted a new residential street layout. Its fundamental concept was the antithesis of the notion of segregating pedestrians and vehicles. It emphasized integration of traffic and pedestrian activity as a positive principle for street planning. The shared street approach was later systematized by local agencies and given legal status by the national government. This new concept has drawn global attention, and similar street designs are appearing not only in Europe, but also in Japan, Australia, and Israel. The shared street concept's adaptability to different countries and societies reinforces its status as a valid, flexible choice for residential street layouts. Studies and surveys of shared streets in these countries have found considerable reductions in traffic accidents, increased social interaction and play, and a high degree of satisfaction by the residents. The available data and the successful implementation of the shared street in other countries can foster its acceptance in the United States. In particular, shared streets could be a workable alternative to the prevailing street layouts in new suburban subdivisions.
Children's Environments (1992)
Our children are the citizens of tomorrow, who will have to safeguard the future of our cities. Yet children are too frequently ignored by architects, devel- opers, city officials and planners. Inattention and brutality in human relationships are internalized and leave their traces in the child's development. The monotony, indifference and placelessness of the physical environment also leaves a lasting impact on the cognitive and emotional development of children (Dubos, 1968).