Daniel Ewald, landscape architect MNLA

LAA250 – Site development, phase 1

The landscape architecture course this fall concerns urban development, and is an interdisciplinary project-oriented study between landscape architecture- and spatial planning students. Our project area this time is the village centre of Ås municipality, close to the university. Directions and advice for the project have been supplied by local architects and planners, and the final results are supposed to be publicly exhibited. There are plans for densification in the area, and different topics for analysis and consequence reports have been issued for study.

Our topic concerns how to maintain the interests of children and youth and their meeting places.

Meeting places for children. Drawing after photo by Ruth Woods.

In our analysis we registered the amount of playgrounds and social spaces facilitated for children in our focus group (12 years and younger), the maintenance condition of these areas, along with the amount of elementary schools and kindergartens within a limited geographical area of the village centre. This is where the densification plans are soon to be in effect, leading to a future increase in population and consequently the need for social spaces. With these registrations we were able to establish where there are sufficient coverage in terms of spaces to use, and where it seemed to be lacking.

Furthermore, we attempted to map the areas the children in our focus group actually use, by creating a set of tasks given out on a chosen elementary school in our area. In these tasks the children were asked to draw their route to school, the areas they play in, areas they were not permitted to use, as well as answer a short set of questions regarding their free-time activities. With this information we learned a great deal of their movements, and more importantly made us able to see whether or not the areas specifically facilitated for their use were preferred – or neglected.

Our analysis concluded that the children were very active on their free-time, spending several days a week on various activities after school – sports and culture, in particular – and that most of these activities are located quite a distance away from both their home and school, i.e. “safe areas”. We also learned that several of the facilitated areas were neglected by the children, and that the village centre in particular were left without any sort of activity after school hours.

The village centre of Ås as it feels today

In the next phase of the project we ask why.

Filed under: Analyses, Illustrations, Studies, , , ,

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