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Title: Children's participation in landscape design : exploring the approaches to children's participation in school-ground and neighbourhood park improvements in the UK
Author: Jones, Keren
ISNI:       0000 0001 3592 456X
Awarding Body: University of Central England
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis explores how children can participate in the initial design and improvement of schoolgrounds and local neighbourhood spaces, such as, the local park and playground. Commencing with an historical overview into the design of child-orientated environments, and how the approach has, and has not, changed in the UK during the last forty years, it was found that, even today, children's environmental needs, can still be misunderstood by landscape architects. This is particularly so for the social and emotional aspects of a child's relationship with the environment, and, conseque'ntly a lack of appropriate child responsive design is still often reflected in much local green space provision. The work considers the argument that children should directly participate in the landscape design process, and this debate is explored, together with an examination of current practice of children's participation in the UK. A number of key issues are identified in relating the children's participation theory to the practice of landscape design, namely:- the question of how children's participation should be structured in order to address the ethical issues of participation alongside the iterative. process of design - the role that the landscape architect plays in participation - the skills and techniques needed to facilitate participation, to represent, communicate and develop ideas collectively. By studying a wide range of documented case studies, it was found that there is a considerable variation in how landscape design participation with children is practiced. In many cases the process is conSUltative, rather than one of genuine shared decision-making. It was concluded that, if children are to significantly influence design decisions, children's involvement needs to be woven through the whole design process. This appears to be most easily achieved when there is a high level of direct interaction between the landscape architect and the participants, which has implications for the training and development of landscape architects, as it requires them to develqp appropriate facilitation and verbal communication skills, as well as an underst~nding of hQw to adapt visual techniques, such as models and drawings, to sui~ the collaborative design process for children. Case studies identified that there were merits in using verbal communication, particularly storytelling, alongside visual communication techniques, and in the second part of the thesis a series of field experiments were used to examine the value of storytelling in more detail. Findings indicate; that .' storytelling can play an important role in landscape design participation with children, alongside other techniques. This is because storytelling:- generated a high level of interactio':1, thus enabling the meaning behind children's ideas to be explored and shared - is a familiar mechanism for expressing social and emotional ideas - gives direction and structure to the design participation process, which appeared to encourage a wide range of ideas-to be suggested, developed, modified and reviewed. This research adds to the existing body of knowledge, by identifying how children's participation in landscape architecture could be improved. The analytical framework developed for the purposes of research has the potential to be used as an analytical tool that enables practicing landscape chitects to capture and, re~EEct on the full breadth of the ideas produced through participation, integrating emotional, nonspatial aspects, and visual ideas. The findings have particular relevance to current UK and European agendas which are concerned with public inv5~stment in new green infrastructure and the need to enable participation by currently excluded groups, especially children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available