The Creation of Rural Child-Friendly Spaces: A Spatial Planning Perspective

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2019, 14, (4), pp. 925-939
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The importance of child-friendly spaces is well captured in literature. Despite this, child-friendly spaces are a scare commodity in modern environments, especially when considering rural environments. These rural areas are often confronted with more pressing needs such as basic services, or facing challenges related to budget constraints, and the provision of spaces for play, thus often under-prioritised. This paper aims to emphasise the need to plan child-friendly spaces, especially for such rural areas where children has limited play and development opportunities. Making use of a qualitative methodological approach through theory-based sampling investigating key theoretical elements discussed in the literature review, the paper captures the complexities of planning for child-friendly spaces in a rural context, referring to the Vaalharts case study in South Africa. It identifies safety considerations, the education of communities, independent mobility, provision of natural play spaces and participatory planning approaches as the core issues to consider when planning in a rural context. The paper concludes by capturing the different planning considerations applicable to urban and rural areas and ultimately provides an approach for planning green child-friendly spaces in rural South Africa.
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