Masterton Playscapes - Connecting children with landscapes through interventions and design processes
This thesis investigates the importance of connecting children to the landscape through creating child led designs. It explores the process undertaken when designing with children and shows how unconventional spaces called playscapes can benefit a child further than a standard playground. This thesis is taking place as research shows that too many children are spending time indoors, away from their outside environment. The disconnect has led to obvious developmental deficiencies within younger children which have, in turn, led to educational, social and physical problems as the child grows. The problem not only affects the household but the whole community as these children grow. For this thesis, the research context situated in Masterton, Wairarapa, two hours from Wellington City, due to the increasing growth within the Wairarapa region. Masterton has already recognised the issues surrounding under-developed children however there has been no move in creating a playscape specifically for them. The main theory is to show a process where children are directly involved in the design and how their input can pave the way for a beneficial playscape, giving another dimension to the designed space as adult’s imagination becomes warped with the constructs of reality and the sense of play diminishes. This process will use several workshops to understand how a child works and invite them to create spaces and interventions that reflect their idea of play. Combined with design, these spaces became a collaboration of the children’s outcomes as well as a space that can create connections between the past, present and future generations. Throughout this thesis, a link to children will establish itself with the aim to create a landscape that children can relate to and grow through advancing their development. Through the environmental connection, the design will bring the children back to their ancestry and understand the relationship to the landscape that their ancestors had whether Maori or European.