Nurturing Children’s Health Through Neighbourhood Morphology
Among the key factors required for the adequate development and growth of children’s physical and mental health is the child’s outdoor activities. Master plans are inclusive and provide sustainable settlements when they accommodate and respond to children. An understanding of the child’s need for outdoor spaces will help build better public spaces thereby providing opportunities for better physical, mental and emotional health of children. This paper is an effort to explore those environmental settings which are conducive for their physical activities. It tries to uncover the spatial planning approach which can contribute to child friendly spaces. The study is an investigation and a comparative analysis of a planned and an organic settlement in an urban fabric; HSR layout and Mangammanapalya in Bangalore, India. A qualitative analysis of the various layers of the physical settings has been done. The investigations reveal how each settlement caters to and supports the physical needs of children. The goal is to make use of these findings in the future planning and design intervention of neighbourhoods. The findings for the planned settlement, HSR revealed the presence of amenities like parks, playgrounds and sports facilities which the children frequented. The organic settlement lacked the presence of parks but the street network pattern revealed a majority of dead ends which are used as play spaces by children. Increase in commercial use in the settlement of HSR brought about the threat of traffic and stranger danger which act as deterrents to the independent mobility of the child while Mangammanapalya because of its cul de sacs which discourage through traffic offered a relatively safe and sustainable environment for play and mobility on its streets. A child friendly route could act as a safe and interesting path for children to explore the neighbourhood.
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