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id ddssup9608
authors Gupta, M.K., Groves M. and Moran, J.D.
year 1996
title An EMIC approach to design: Methodology for creating supportive environments for young children
source Timmermans, Harry (Ed.), Third Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning - Part two: Urban Planning Proceedings (Spa, Belgium), August 18-21, 1996
summary The responsibility of the designer is to understand the unique perspective of the users, in order to create functional and efficient environments. The task of creating supportive environments often becomes more difficult when there is discrepancy between the perspective of the designer and that of the user, which is the case when designing spaces for children. The interaction of children with their environment has been identified as the basis of their development Most of the previous research has focused on the perspectives that adults have of spaces for children (etic), rather than an understanding of the child's view as the primary user of the playspace (emic). Children's perceptions are influenced by their physical and cognitive perspectives thus posing a unique challenge for designers. The objective of this study was to learn about the perception and perspective of four-and five-year-olds of their favorite playspaces. The children needed to identify their favorite spaces and also be able to verbalize the activities and meanings associated with these spaces. To avoid adult bias at the onset, the idea of utilizing a Polaroid Captiva camera was formulated, facilitating an extremely short latency period between the child taking the pictures and the opportunity to talk about their favorite playspace. The process was extremely successful, and provides first hand insight into children's perception of their built environment Photographs taken by the young children include many spaces not designed for play. The emerging themes are a source of invaluable information for designers and planners for making informed design decisions and for creating supportive environments.
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