Urban Space Essay

1453 words - 6 pages

Whyte, (1980) mentions that children play in the streets and urban spaces and it is not about non-existence of play grounds because it is all about they like to play in urban context. In addition, for many years play spaces lack of design touches and pretty much same anywhere (Taylor, 2008). Urban open spaces give children opportunity to play freely, discover the things themselves, develop new skills, plan and manage their own time, and also help their motor skills and communication skills to be developed. Woolley (1997) found that over seventy percent of involved children visit their town centres more than once a week and this rate is higher in big towns and cities. Children like being in the town centre or younger ones are brought to town centres by their parents. However, some concerns and boundaries limit their use of town centres such as legal, social and physical boundaries which legal authorities, designers or managers and adults set up (Woolley, et. al. 2011). Carmona, (2010) explains social boundaries or safety concerns such as parental worries, existence of drunk people or drug users, fear of motor vehicles, fear of a crime and so on, and physical barriers such as; poorly maintained spaces, well-being (children and elderly people) and car dominated urban environments. Woolley et. al., (1999a) discuss that parental worries about “stranger danger” or their child being abused by some others are the most common thoughts which keep children away from Urban open spaces. In addition, Woolley et. al.(1999b)'s study, which involved questionnaire survey of children, found that children mentioned their fears of strangers such as tramps, drunk people, beggars, drug users and so on. As a result many children stated that they prefer out of town shopping centres in order to be more secure, watched by CCTVs, warm in winter and cool in summer, always bright and have enough light around. However, use of out of town shopping centres is all about distance and/or having public transport which was found out in another study held by University of Sheffield between October 1994 and December 1996.

Furthermore, apart from stranger danger and abused by someone, other common worry is traffic dangers. Johnstone, (2008) explains that children are involved in 25 percent of fatal motor accidents in total causing to trauma leading to child death. Number of children who died in motor accidents reduced within last 30 years. Some of these decrease related with improvement of medical technologies but big proportion of decrease is related to not many children walking anywhere. Our streets mainly in urban areas motor vehicle orientated and not designed for pedestrians, therefore it causes parental worries about potential traffic dangers.

Recent studies supports the Jonhstone’s idea above and show that physical activity level of children has been decreasing in many countries due to social, physical boundaries and change of transportation as was mentioned above (Griffin...

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