MA Thesis: Universal Play Space

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Landscape Design

Client: Faculty of Graduate Studies, The University of British ColumbiaLocation: Greater Vancouver Region, B.C.
Budget:  Masters Thesis for M.L.A.Country: Canada
Date Initiated: April, 1997Date Scheduled:  
Project Status: Ongoing Professional WorkDate Completed: April, 1999

Universal School Playground: Natural Learning Landscapes

A stratified random sample of 93 children, 4 to 10 years old, from 9 different schools in the Greater Vancouver Region was used to determine children's preferences for play environments and play equipment. As well, questionnaires and interviews were used to identify the preferences of their parents, school principals and safety officers as other important influences affecting the choices in the design of school play environments. The results of the study were consistent with a similar one involving children 11 to 16 years old; expressing strong preferences for variety, texture, colour, trees and natural elements such as water and sand. The children's specific comments reflected the effect of their play experiences in areas of social and environmental learning. The comments of the parents, principals and safety officers were focused primarily on safety.

The results were integrated to offer design guidelines for playgrounds, parks, and greenways. The guidelines were applied to present a full design for a playground of a school and an adjacent park in a community in the Greater Vancouver Region. As a result of the survey, a design matrix was created which takes a composite list for qualities of good play environments and compares the list to landscape features as having direct or indirect influences. The approach reflected a foundation that is comprehensive, interdisciplinary, holistic and universal in accessibility.


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School Playground


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