Lookout : applying a process of design participation with children

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Zhan, Jim
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Landscape Architecture
Unitec Institute of Technology
Wake, Sue
Wang, Xinxin
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Mount Roskill (Auckland, N.Z.)
Puketāpapa, Tāmaki-makau-rau
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
green spaces
public space design
child-friendly cities
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Zhan, W.-J. (2019). Lookout : applying a process of design participation with children. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4812
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can an alternative participatory process be applied in the design of green spaces for children in Auckland, as it densifies? ABSTRACT: Children face many challenges in urban life today, including diminished contact with nature and reduced independent mobility. These indicators point to an erosion of rights. However, children have the political right and intellectual capability to participate in all aspects of urban life. As adults realise the seriousness of this phenomenon, more projects are trying to make changes to promote children's rights. Lookout is one such project based on performance art that provided equal communication opportunities for children and adults. The purpose of this research is to utilise a child and adult participation project called ‘Lookout’, performed in Auckland, as an alternative process of participation in design. The methodology applied is research by design, taking qualitative data collected from the Lookout project and applying it in the design of a suburban park, in Mt Roskill (Puketapapa), Auckland. This area is currently undergoing housing intensification due to a need to replace aged housing stock coupled with an acute housing shortage in Auckland that is being addressed via the Auckland Plan 2050. This makes quality green space provision an even more important goal as the city grows and loses precious outdoor space for exploration and free play (eg backyards). The design outcomes validate the importance of the Lookout project as a unique, egalitarian encounter between children and adults, with both parties contributing their ideas and aspirations for future Auckland in an environment of equality and openness. For the children, this was helped by the ‘mask’ of performance. There are limitations to its use as a participatory or consultation method – especially the time taken to workshop the ideas with the children beforehand. It may, however, be possible to develop an abridged form of this that still provides children with the tools to communicate equally with adults. Of particular value was the broad perspective it encouraged in the participants so that the ideas generated were applicable to a suburban site, while the Lookout project was performed in the CBD.
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