Transcript for presentation:

Mapping the Common Ground: Inclusive Playscapes for Children in Jerusalem - From Global to Local


Tali Cohen-Anderson


B5. Art, entertainment and play

Date and Time

2014-06-16, 16:00 - 16:40


MA 7

Presentation PDF

Long oral presentation

Transcript of the talk

>> Yes, I can hear you.
>> Can you see the streaming? Okay, the common ground. Inclusive okay. Mapping the common ground.
>> Can you hear me? Great!
>> Good afternoon. And welcome to this parallel session on art, entertainment and play. My name is Ilene and I’m the moderator of this session. I’m the time keeper. Right now we have three presentations scheduled. The second presenter has not arrived as far as I can tell. Mathias, are you here? No? But we will begin any ways with Tali and she will introduce herself and then afterward, we’ll have about ten minutes for questions from the audience.
>> Thank you! Hi, everybody. I’m Tali Cohen coming all of the way from Israel. I’m very excited to be here and nervous but there’s only a few people so I’ll over come the nervousness.
I’m an architect. Any profession is an architect and I’m assistant professor in interior design and accessibility and connection between them. I’m also the head of the accessibility department in the city of Jerusalem so my practice in everyday life is trying to make this complex city very not accessible, trying to make it accessible.
I will present an ongoing part of, whatever you see today, it’s a result of the last two years walking with the students, my four year students with this project and it’s a project of an academic research that I’m doing with them trying to put together my professional experience and my academic experience into a real life project.
We call the project three M project and my presentation will divide into three parts. I’ll talk about the mapping, the meaning and the making. That would be easier for you to follow what I’m trying to say. The name of the project is mapping the common ground and the common ground was those place keeps and spaces in Jerusalem where people are trying to play in a global problem, into a local solution.
The project was trying to answer the question, is it possible to create an inclusive place that integrates the needs of children, various children within its design. The tool for it is mapping, mapping and serving playscapes with the purpose of understanding the playscapes.
The first goal of this project is to come up with a typical profile, first to understand the profile of the gardens and the playgrounds and then to try to integrate it into the design and make it more inclusive for children with and without disability.
I think it presents a new perception and special concept based on that profile which relates to the playgrounds as a universal space and it’s funny because I’m coming from the interior design and what’s important or what was very different about it, we are all interior designs, designers and architects trying to design out door spaces with people with disabilities.
Before I start, I’ll just give you some data that I think is important to understand for you to understand the project. The national survey, the year of 2007 showed that in Israel there’s 314 thousand children that suffers from different kinds of disabilities which is presented in 22 percent of the children are disabled which is a very big number.
Such children on wheelchairs, children with visual impairments, mental cognitive disabilities and so on. For many children, the playground is a place of joy and laughter, self expression. For others with physical disables, it’s a place of frustration and disappointment with the inability to reach the facilities in their own environment in order to use them.
Another important information is that in Jerusalem, I think in 2009, there was 450 playgrounds among the city which is a huge number. I think today we are 530. None of them, in all parts of the city, in the orthodox neighborhood and the western and eastern part of the city, none of them, not a single one of them is accessible.
That is a completely wrong and unacceptable. What we’re doing, we’re trying to understand the elements that make it inaccessible for everybody, not only for disabled people, for a mom with her kids, for wheelchairs and for little children. I think the work that we are doing as designers, we think about the spaces and we consider the spaces through the eyes of the users so we were very interested in understanding who are the users with all of these spaces, what do they do there and that makes a lot of what do they do and how we can make this place accessible to everybody.
How to create inclusive spaces that will have integration of the needs of the various children and the various people on the playscape that is designed for. To give you an idea of this, this is our almost all of the playscapes, this is what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Jerusalem. These all look the same. This is the standard playground and so you can see all over and I think that the quality play, that the quality play of learning environment is more than just a collection of play equipment.
The entire sides with all of its elements from storage and so on can become a play and learning resource with the children with our without disabilities so we wonder why this is the situation in Israel and why each and every one of the playscapes is a collection of facilities that you pick from the catalog, usually the people that are not professional, and put them in the spaces without really thinking what the purpose of putting them there.
On the other hand, we have this available parks which are equipped and designed for special needs to begin with. So these spaces are fenced and often during special time during the day, they don’t allow other children or without disability to get in so you can get some kind of a spaces that are totally doing different things and available facilities, it looks like that. If we’re talking about disability, colors, materials, and so on this is what we see. And students and designers, we have asked ourself, if this is this the visibility we want to live with or is it okay and do we want to live like that, not speaking about the price.
Each one of the facilities cost like three times the regular playscape object, especially this one. This is like a lot of money. None of the disabled children themselves, they don’t use it. They don’t use it, they don’t like it. It looks like a hospital machine or something that is not designed. You don’t want to stand on this stage and say, here, I am. I am a disabled person.
So this is a very good park for well, the intentions very good but there’s many problems in it. We analyze all of the spaces. We analyze all of the object and we try to understand why it’s not working. And it’s not working for many reasons like the way they designed the object themselves, the way they think about all of the users, where the wheelchair is going to sit. Do I have the opportunity toic be up and make a decision myself and enjoy the space like everybody else.
We call this phenomenon optimism versus inclusion and we are trying to see what we can do with it design wise. Other places that we looked at, it looks like that all over the world, inclusive playgrounds. The children with and without disabilities play together at the same time, at the same moment in the garden, in the parks and they make interactions, social interactions, dialogue, they play together, they learn together and we didn’t see that in our spaces.
So we were trying to figure out what is the common playscape. Of course, the tool and the background for our research was inclusive design. These were the parameters we looked through and tried to understand whether it happens, it’s there or not.
But before I start with a criteria of everything, he’ll help me and I’ll start with a short movie showing you a short trip with a wheelchair in comparison to one of the gardens so you can get an idea of how those spaces look like and then we’ll continue from there.
>> Movie: (Music).
>> This kind of photography but they’re all dealing with the same kind of issues and the same obstacles and the same but they are not all with the same capacity like David. David is a very he’s in very good shape and can do anything but still, it looks like that. I just forget to say something very important. This project, we call it, real life projects. It was a collaboration between our discipline which is interior and architecture and the therapy and occupational therapist in the University of Jerusalem so it was a coed designed project and we had co teamed with the department of occupational therapy to understand, to get the knowledge from their area and our discipline and try to figure out together how can we change the build environment towards their understanding of the behavior of the people in the environment.
First we decided on the criteria to pick up the gardens. Those were the criterias. We didn’t want to be too small or too big, various populations of groups, meaning eastern, western, city, religious, non religious, so forth so we can get a grasp of the whole thing.
We made a pilot before we started to walk in another garden. We picked 15 gardens out of 25. There was a committee from the two departments that went through the 25 parks and picked up those five that were totally different with really, totally different mainly different problems. The survey started here with this pilot and we still tried to use all of the technology, use all of the wheelchairs and measure and so forth.
The second, the next set was those tools that I made. We don’t have any tools we have the regulation in the country which is pretty new, I think. Only the last year did the regulation go through and now we have to make those spaces accessible but the children got those four tools that I made which are regarding the behavioral observation, the regulation, the interviews with the children and the parents and together with all of this data, they started a project.
Strategic to co found this program was mapping. We did a lot of mapping research about all of these spaces. Each one of the parks was designed by a group of designers and occupational therapists using the mapping as a tool and they went into those parks and did the measurements and the data that was collected and the sample, they map all of the problems and tried to visualize the problems, basically.
They try to understand who is moving through the space, who is using the space, how often to use the space, what activity they’re doing. Whether it’s in a way or in a planned way and then they get to a conclusion, there’s in different spots in the garden where the movie was taken. This is one spot, all of the green dots are the spots and actually only two of them are active which means that if you come from the bottom part of the garden, and you get to this part, as you come up to this part, you only get to this point and then out and then the main core of the garden is not used at all by nobody.
And that was very sad and the other thing that she discovered is that in this spot, the children just played with the facilities they have. In this part, they have nothing and they created their own play and that was amazing conclusion because she took this conclusion and now she decided to put this part together in a continuous way.
And I think I’m showing this project because it’s a very typical problem that we found all over the gardens. All of them got this problem off of this part. They’re all disconnected. They’re not connected to this city, not to the activity that they’re supposed to promote.
Other spaces, they were just vacant. None of the children were there. Only few and not enough facilities and if there were any facilities or any objects to play with, they looked like that and that’s terrible. That means that somebody didn’t think about the users somehow.
So we tried to understand why. On the other end of the world, parts were entirely new and the regulations were there already and it looks like that. It looks like in a way that each one of stages for the children to come and play on were blocked. You see? They were blocked and do you see those? So there is only a path going through all of them but then, when you get to the spot, you have to go back and you can’t really participate and use it.
So other students, decided to search the users, how long, the duration of the activity in the space and so forth, and this is another student that realized that this is the activity, again, and they all have the project which is this spot here is useless. This is the spot of the whole park because from this point, you can see the point of the 360 degree neighborhood and it’s a very important focal point and nothing happens there which is an empty space which means that it’s not working and this how we presented the problem and the solution and we tried to take all of this inside the part of the garden and make it active and make it connected to the other part of the park.
Other problems where the views, what do we see? Are we connected to what is going on around us or not? A very important thing to say is that the locality and sense of place of all of these spaces were very important to the students. They didn’t just came and check the park. They really wanted to interact with everything that is going on around the park, where are the main public buildings like in this one. Those are the public buildings for elderly people that cannot use the old park. It’s all blocked to them and it’s ashamed because they could be the first potential people to stay there and be there so it looks like a big wall disconnected the city from the garden.
So locality and sense of place was very important and then we find out that we have two scenarios. One of them is playscape scenario and the other is urban playscape scenario. The urban space is something that should have connections to the city like this one. It didn’t have any connection to the University. The park is here, the University is over there. There is a disconnection between the two of them and she tried to make it up and again, okay. I’ll go through the mapping and then we put all of the data together in different charts, collected it and tried to make sense out of it.
And to make sense out of it is only in a comparative, some kind of diagram of each one of the gardens and in the comparative ways, one to each other. We dealt with the size. We have the playing facility, the number of activity spaces, we put all of the information together and you see the numbers. It’s very low.
This is the only garden that was somehow over the expectation. The same with, let’s say one of them that deals with urban space and the urban scapes and the connections to the city. Okay, the findings were not easy even though we kind of knew them. We felt there was a lack of sense of belong, a sense of space in each one of the spaces. We actually didn’t see the children. The children were not present there. They were transparent, invisible. There was a lack of freedom of choice, where to go, how to play, what to do. They were all the time dependent on either their parents or somebody else or some kind of adult that has to be with them and of course, the lack of accessible, protectiveness and safe spaces.
Okay, shortly some of the old processes. I’ll show you some designs, solutions.
>> (Music) okay. So based on the knowledge, the third one is make the spaces and trying to find out what is the common playscape for this location. They all tried to create a meaningful encounter between the various children and create spaces that are successful for promoting meetings and activity and mutual enrichment between the kids and so that the regular disabled and without disability children can play together the same time, the same place and of some kind of social interaction.
In each one of the parks they took at the constructions of the park and made it something that can be physical for them. Like this connection between the two parts of the city, they made five routes, different routes for different people to use them. Blind people and wheelchairs and they’re all coming to the same place and play together. Using water and different types of activities for different types of children. Using different spaces either for adult, elderly people, children, and so forth and try to connect them with the city which is up here. In places where they do need to make some borders or fences, how do you do it in a colorful playful way so people can use it too and be active.
The continuity in the garden is very important and at the same time, the sense of place, they didn’t take out any of the trees, any of the anything that was existing. It was good for shading. It was good for flowers like smells and so forth. Shading was a real problem. Like in this park, they had the forest here and the park was disconnected to the forest and she designed it in a way there is an observation point and everybody can get to that point and enjoy the landscape all around.
Okay. A few other things that we did is we tried to reach out with fliers and ID cards of each one of the gardens to the community and participate them in how to make the connection and what is the best way.
We made fliers, folding fliers and told them about the process. Suggested some solutions. We have even a website and we do present it there at the museum. It was amazing! A lot of people came, we have many different reactions. Those are the people that some of the people I walked with and we do have a site that you can look at and see everything. Thank you very much!
>> And thank you for that presentation! Do we have any questions here?
>> I thought this was very interesting. One thing I wanted to hear a little bit more about is that, in a sense, when you do things, you know, the level of ease of access versus the challenge because you want, you sort of want both.
>> Yeah, I agree. We didn’t want to design this place, in a way they looked like they were designed for disabled people. The idea is to make a good design for everybody to use. We do want we challenged it. We didn’t want to make their life easier or to make the idea is to make spaces that are common for everybody to get together to the same spot. That was one main difficulty that we try to over come because they’re not there. They’re observers, they are outside of the activity. They’re looking at children. They’re not making any interaction and we just first try to push them and put them in the same spot. That’s all we tried to do and then I think the next part is to design the spot in a way that everybody can do something there according to their ability. That’s all we do. We try to do.
>> Other questions?
>> I have a question. Will these things be implemented?
>> Yeah, I hope so. I’m working on it in the city of Jerusalem. That’s why we did it in Jerusalem because I know with people or the politics that are responsible for all of this stuff and then I can at least raise the awareness of, let’s think about it differently. Let’s put it in a place that would be effective for lots of people and make the change. That’s all we try to do but it’s not easy.
>> More questions here?
>> Thank you, again.


Rough edited copy by AVA AB and Certec, LTH

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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.