Embedding Sustainability Principles in the Mindset of Children Through Creating Nature-Interactive Physical Spaces

Yasmin Sadek, Laila Khodeir
Natural world is one of the most important context of children’s maturation. However, the result of a latest survey that was conduct- ed on 12,000 parents from 10 different countries, showed that one- third of children in the age of 5 to 12 years old spend less than 30 minutes outside every day. This survey and other relevant studies have brought evident to the problem of the lack of children interac- tion with their surrounding environment and nature in general. One of the major role players who can make a difference in resolving children-environment interaction is the architecture designer, who is the one responsible for creating physical spaces for children. The ob- jective of this paper is thus to investigate the role of architecture in the creation of spaces for children that can act as a tool in itself, and which could promote both tangible and intangible sustainability concepts. A literature review was conducted in order to study the principles of sustainability and how to integrate nature into a physi- cal space for children through a number of analyzed case studies. Findings of this paper were based on a double perception including literature and designers. It was indicated that children are generally interested in the idea of integrating nature to their physical space. The results of this study are expected to influence the architects through presenting guidelines that guides decision throughout the design of spaces for children. It is recommended that such spaces should enhance understanding of the concept of sustainability, and could sustain sustainability in the mind set of young children, who represent in turn environmentally aware future generation.

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