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Growing up in urban school environments

Halblaub Miranda, Marianne ; Ustinova, Maria ; Tregel, Thomas ; Knöll, Martin (2023)
Growing up in urban school environments.
In: The City at Eye Level for Kids, 2019
doi: 10.26083/tuprints-00023307
Book Section, Secondary publication, Publisher's Version

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Item Type: Book Section
Type of entry: Secondary publication
Title: Growing up in urban school environments
Language: English
Date: 2023
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Year of primary publication: 2019
Publisher: STIPO
Book Title: The City at Eye Level for Kids
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00023307
Corresponding Links:
Origin: Secondary publication service

In 1977 Kevin Lynch presented the results of his famous “Growing Up in Cities” study on children’s use and perception of spatial environments in cities around the globe. The main aim was to inform planning policies with a better understanding of how the built environment impacts children’s behaviour, which could lead to urban quality improvements from children’s point of view. The authors emphasised that the value of children’s participation should not be neglected and pointed towards the untapped potential in the way they observe the city from a different perspective.

After four decades, the project’s research questions and findings of Lynch’s work remain very relevant – both for architects and urban designers, as for the young users. This is specially the case for urban schools as important “settings” (fields of action), in which the children are spending an increasing amount of time. Already in the 1970s, Lynch stressed that children had less time for free activities and that their daily lives were fully programmed by school, and TV at home. Nowadays, as the majority of school systems turn to the full-time model, the majority of children’s time is spent with daily learning and extra-curricular activities, as well as using digital devices during leisure time.

A growing body of international research underlines how school design influences students’ learning progress, social interaction, physical and cognitive development. However, less attention has been paid to the questions of a) how we can design more livability, physical activity, and mental well-being into school environments, and b) how can children play a more vital role in the process.

To address these issues, the research team of TU Darmstadt developed a toolbox, which makes children the direct observers of their surrounding environment and is encouraged to express their opinions. It is inspired by Lynch’s work and includes three main techniques from his research: individual/group interviews with the children, taking photographs and analysing them, and the collaborative creation of spatial mental maps. The toolbox, however, integrates a new generation of digitally- supported surveys, mapping, and co-design tools to further explore how students can be encouraged in co-creating their learning spaces and bringing forward their expectations and needs.

Uncontrolled Keywords: Child-friendly, Community Engagement, Inclusivity, Placemaking
Status: Publisher's Version
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-233072
Classification DDC: 300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems , social services, insurance
300 Social sciences > 370 Education
700 Arts and recreation > 720 Architecture
Divisions: 15 Department of Architecture
15 Department of Architecture > Fachgruppe E: Stadtplanung
15 Department of Architecture > Fachgruppe E: Stadtplanung > Urban Health Games
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2023 08:20
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 11:56
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/23307
PPN: 507478371
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