UBC Undergraduate Research

Children Engaging in the Design Process of Melfa Road is Crucial for Providing the Most Benefits Li, Honghong; Liu, Wendy; Satkauskas, Diana; Sow, Zahra; Spenrath, Michael


Neighborhoods have been trying to develop ways of engaging children with nature because of the potential health benefits. By also including children in the design process of outdoor spaces, their needs and desires can be incorporated. Our goals were to examine approaches for engaging children in design activities and encouraging nature-children interaction, and learn how children have been engaged specifically in the design of outdoor spaces. We used qualitative site analysis to make visual observations of the study site, then conducted a literature review. We found that interviews, workshops, and behavior mapping are the most effective ways of engaging children in the design process. We also found that spaces where children can interact with nature provide educational opportunities, sensory experiences, opportunities for exploration, and increased social cohesion and behavior. Finally, we found that when children were involved in the redesign of outdoor spaces, workshops with a drawing component were the most common engagement strategy. Involving children in the design process of outdoor spaces also allows children to feel heard, empowered, and create a sense of ownership over the space. Based on our literature review, we recommend first performing behavior mapping on Melfa Road to observe how children are currently using the space and interact with the natural environment. We then recommend hosting a workshop with different activities with parents present because they are the most accommodating strategy, especially for children with special needs. Finally, we recommend some potential ways to improve child-nature interaction at Melfa Road using existing green spaces. The next steps would be to create an engagement plan and execute these recommendations. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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