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A comparison of playground evaluation methods to inform nature-based playground design

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Title:
A comparison of playground evaluation methods to inform nature-based playground design
Creator:
Wu, Youchu ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (82 pages) : illustrations ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Landscape Architecture graduate terminal project, M.L.A
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government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Abstract:
With our ever-changing society, an increasing number of children are addicted to indoor activities and a spend insufficient time engaging in outdoor play due to several reasons, such as the urbanism (demolishing natural area for modern building construction), safety consideration, relevant environmental-friendly policy, the attraction of television, cell phones, and other electronic products.1 According to the article Children: General Health, in the recent forty years, the number of children walking to school decreased from 48% to 13%. And also based on this article, parents frequently cite the proximity to the school, increased traffic, and general perception of anger as reasons for this decline.2 Lack of outdoor activities can result in behavioral problems, a phenomenon described as nature-deficit disorder in Richard Louv's 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods. Thus, it is important to help children recover from or avoid nature-deficit disorder and provide an environment that helps them improve their physical, mental, emotional health, and other comprehensive abilities. As described by Louv, Last Child in the Woods, nature has a therapeutic effect on children and it is important to let children have more outdoor interaction with nature.3 Therefore, how to combine play with nature is an essential issue which should be addressed for children. To address this issue, first, the researcher collects the theoretical basis from the literature and other relevant resources to obtain an understanding about children's need and the therapeutic effect of nature. Second, the researcher evaluates and analyzes the existing playgrounds by criteria and graphics, and more detailed resources and theories are used as the basis for the evaluation criteria.
Abstract:
Third, after completing the evaluation graphics and playgrounds selection, the evaluator conducts a comprehensive evaluation and analysis and deduces results and general guidelines in terms of the context selection, equipment design, natural elements design and other principles, which is helpful for a nature-based children's playground design. Fourth, the evaluator provides further discussion for future studies to ensure that researchers can obtain more comprehensive, objective results for a nature-based children's playground.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture Terminal Project
Statement of Responsibility:
by Youchu Wu.

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University of Florida
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Copyright Creator. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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035612629 ( ALEPH )
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LD1780.1 2017 ( lcc )

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University of Florida Theses & Dissertations

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1 A Comparison of Playground Evaluation Methods to Inform Nature based Playground Design by Youchu Wu wuyouchu88 @ufl.edu April 19 th, 201 7 Graduate Terminal Project Department of Landscape Architecture College of Design, Construction and Planning University of Florida

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2 Acknowledgement ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 4 Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 5 Chapter 1. Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 7 1.1 Issues of Concern and Background of Current Children's Situation a nd Needs ............................ 7 1.2 Statement of Purpose and Objectives ................................ ................................ ........................... 8 1.3 Study Limi tations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 9 1.4 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 10 Chapter 2. Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 11 2.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 11 2.2 Last Child in the Woods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 11 2.3 Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learni ng in Natural Environment .. 14 2.4 Play and Interplay ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 16 2.5 Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children ................................ ................ 17 2.6 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 18 Chapter 3. Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 19 3.1 Overview and Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 19 3.1.1 Procedures for Doing Existing Playgrounds Evaluation s ................................ ........................ 19 3.1.2 Procedures for Evaluation Results Analysis ................................ ................................ ........... 19 3.1.3 Procedures fo r Identifying General Guidelines for Nature based Playgrounds .................... 20 3.2 Evaluation Criteria ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 20 3.2.1 Evaluation Metric One ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 21 3.2.1.1 Evaluation Metric One: Material Form (Visual experience) ................................ ......... 21 3.2.1.2 Evaluation Metric One: Materi al Semblance (Visual Experience) ............................... 22 3.2.1.3 Evaluation Metric One: Material Touch (Tactile experience) ................................ ......... 24 3.2.1.4 Evaluation Metric One: Degree of Context ................................ ................................ ..... 27 3.2.1.5 Evaluation Metric One: Other N atural E l ements ................................ ............................ 31 3.2.1.6 Evaluation Metric One : Graphic Design ................................ ................................ ......... 32 3.2.1 Evaluation Metric Two ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 33 3.2.2.1 Eva luation Metric Two: Natural View and Green Landscape ................................ ......... 33 3.2.2.2 Evaluation Metric Two: Opportunities for Children to Interact with Nature by Doing Certain Activiti es ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 34 3.2.2.3 Evaluation Metric Two: Sensory Experience ................................ ................................ ... 37

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3 3.2.2.4 Eva luation Metric Two: Degree of Context ................................ ................................ .... 38 3.2.2.5 Evaluation Metric Two: Other Natural Elements ................................ ............................ 40 3.2.2.6 Evaluation Metric Two: Graphic Design ................................ ................................ .......... 41 3.2.2 Existing Children Playgrounds Selection ................................ ................................ ................ 42 3.2.3 Evaluation Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 44 Chapter 4. Results and Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 45 4.1 Results for Playground One ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 45 4.1.1 Oaks Mall Children 's Playground Evaluation One ................................ ................................ .. 45 4.1.2 Oaks Mall Children 's Playground Evaluation Two ................................ ................................ .. 47 4.2 Resu lts for Playground T wo ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 49 4.2.1 Depot Park Children 's Playground Evaluation One ................................ ................................ 49 4.2.2 Depot Park Children 's Playground Evaluation Two ................................ ................................ 52 4.3 Results for Playground Three ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 54 4.3.1 Alfred A. Ring Park Children 's Playground Evaluation One ................................ .................... 54 4.3.2 A lfred A. Ring Park Children 's Playground Evaluation One ................................ .................... 56 4.4 Results for Playground Four ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 58 4.4.1 Woodland Discovery Playground Evaluation One ................................ ................................ 58 4.4.2 Woodland Discovery Playground Evaluation Two ................................ ................................ 61 4.5 Results for Playground Five ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 62 4.5.1 Teardrop Park Playground Evaluation One ................................ ................................ ............ 62 4.5.2 Teardrop Park Playgro und Evaluation Two ................................ ................................ ............ 65 4.6 Results for Playground Six ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 66 4.6.1 Tumblin g Bay Park Playground Evaluation One ................................ ................................ ..... 66 4.6 .2 Tumbling Bay Park Playground Evaluation Two ................................ ................................ ..... 70 4.7 Results Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 72 4.8 General Guidelines ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 74 Chapter 5. Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 78 Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 81

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4 Acknowledgement I would like to express my gratitude to the Chair of my committee for my terminal project, Mr. Michael Volk, who tried his best to provide effective guidance for my terminal project. And I also would like to express my gratitude to the member of my committee for my terminal project, Mr. Konstantinos Alexakis, who always provided helpful assist ance for my terminal project with his enlightenment and encouragement. I sincerely thank all the other instructors and staff members in the University of Florida, DCP Department who provide d help and instruction for my study and research. I also w ish to express my gratitude to the students who studied and spent a good experience with me in the class and studio, which provide d me meaningful interaction and discussion in terms of study and help ed me to become a better landscape architectu re student.

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5 Abstract With our ever changing society, an increasing number of children are addicted to indoor activities and a spend insufficient time engaging in outdoor play due to several reasons such as the urbanism (demolishing natural area for modern building construction) safety consideration, relevant environmental friendly policy, the attraction of television, cell phone s, and other electronic produc ts. 1 A ccording to the article Children: General Health, in the recent forty years, the number of children walking to school decreased from 48 % to 13 % And also based on this article, parents frequently cite the proximity to the school, increased traffic, and general perception of anger as reasons for this decline. 2 Lack of outdoor activities can result in behavioral problems, a phenomenon described as nature deficit disorder Last Child in the Wood s Thus, it is important to help children recover from or avoid nature deficit disorder and provide an environment that helps them improve the ir physical, mental, emotional health and other comprehensive abilit ies As described by Louv Last Child in the Woods, nature has a therapeutic effect on children and it is important to let children have more outdoor interaction with nature. 3 Therefore, how to combine play with nature is an essential issue which should be addressed for children. To address this issue, first, the researcher collect s the theoretical basis from the literature and other relevant resources to obtain effect of nature. Second, the researcher evaluate s and analyze s the existing playgrounds by criteria and graphics, and more detailed resource s and theories are used as the basis for the eval uation criteria. Third, after completing the evaluation graphics and playgrounds selection, the evaluator conduct s a comprehensive

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6 evaluation and analysis and deduces results and general guidelines in terms of the context selectio n, equipment design, natural elements design and other principles which is helpful for a nature based children playground design. Fourth, the evaluator provides further discussion for future studies to en sure that researchers can obtain more comprehensive, objective results for a nature based children playground.

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7 Chapter 1. Introduction 1.1 Issues of Concern and Background of Current Children's Situation and Needs According to the Last Child in the Wood s by Richard louv an increasing number of children suffer from nature deficit d isorder, and they have a variety of behavioral problem s because of def icient interaction with the outdoor environment 4 First, in terms of physical problems mainly caused by a lack of outdoor activities an increasing number of children are over weight Second, in terms of mental problems, children who suffer from nature deficit disorder have difficulties in social, verbal and nonverbal communication. Some children cannot filter and perceive the ir surrounding information have trouble think ing independently express ing themselves, or convey ing information clearly Moreover, they also lack a cognitive ability. Furthermore, it is also difficulty for children who suffer from nature deficit disorder to concentrate and they are more likely to be distracted which is call ed attention deficit disorder according to Kaplan and Kaplan 5 Third regarding emotional problems, children who suffer from nature deficit disorder are more likely to feel pressured, depressed and cannot control or adjust their emotions well. 6 T hese problems and issue s for children have a negative influ ence o n their health and growth It is also important to determine what cause s childre n to have fewer outdoor activities which result in these behavioral problems According to Louv there are four main reasons which can explain why an increasing number of children tend to spend more time in the house rather than do outd oor activities. First, with the expansion of

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8 environments a lot of green space and the natural environment were destroyed and used to build modern commercial buildings and other infrastructures for urban life Second, parents would like to protect their children so because of safety consideration s they do not want their children to play ou tside and be under the risk of being hurt. Third some natural area s are restored and protected by local environmental policy and children are forbidden to play in some certain natural area s because they may damage some natural resource s Fourth with the development of science, children have more choices when they are at home, such as television, using cell phone s laptop s, and many other electronic products. 7 T he above reasons have caused children to be trapped in the house rather than go out and interact with the natural environment. Based on this information and research, children should not only play, but also need to interact with the outside environment to avoid nature deficit disorder. Therefore, it is significant to create a successful nature based playground for children to solve these problems and give them more opportunities to interact with nature. These playground s can assist with maintaining physical, emotional, mental, psychological health for children and help them recover from n ature d eficit d isorder. 1.2 Statement of Pu r pose and Objectives The main goal of th is project is t o identify general guidelines for a nature based children playground s based on a detailed literature review evaluation and analysis of existing playgrounds A second important goal is to create and compare two evaluation metrics, which may be used to access the effectiveness of a playground in addressing nature deficit disorder. The objectives of the proj ect are three fold. The first step is to create a theoretical basis for analysis based on relevant literature and article s Second,

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9 based on the theoretical collection and analysis, the project should devise two different criteria and graphic s based on different evaluation consideration s and then use these to evaluate the existing playgrounds and analyze the results of the playgrounds evaluation by a horizontal comparison. The reason of why the evaluator are creating two different sets of criteria is to eval uate the playgrounds in terms of different considerations and come up with a more comprehensive resul t Third the project should be able to develop further discussion and general guidance for a nature based children playground design 1.3 Study Limitations The project also includes some study limitations. There are six existing playgrounds evaluated by the criteria and graphics. Among the six existing playgrounds, three are located in Gainesville so the playground evaluation and study are based on site visitation and observation. However, the other th r ee playground s are out of Gainesville, so for these playgrounds, the evaluation depend s on online or other literature resource s collected and analy z ed rather than v isiting the site s because of the restriction of time and region The evaluator is going to evaluate the parks outside of Gainesville ev en though the evaluator could not visit them because the project is going to analyze the playground s with a variety of context rather than just focus on one context and background. Other limitations include that the evaluations are subjective and just based on one evaluator. To be more conclusive and objective it would help to have another person test the eval uations to see if they come to the same conclusions. For example, other

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10 landscape architecture students, researchers, and designers can test the evaluation and produce another conclusion and gui dance for this topic to gain a more objective result based on the different evaluators. 1.4 Summary To help children recover from nature deficit disorder and improve their physical, mental, emotional health and other comprehensive abilit ies such as cognitive abilit ies it is essential to provide therapeutic nature based playground s to provide more opportunities for children to play and interact with the natural environment so they can recover from behavioral problems and lead a more health y and happy life It is clear that p laygrounds are one means of achieving this based on the background information Ther efore, to realize this goal, this project should accomplish the relevant research and analysis as what is illustrated and provide new general guidance and principles for a nature based playground design in the future

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11 Chapter 2. Literature Review 2.1 Introduction A thorough l iterature review is significant as it provides a theoretical basis for further research of the project Th is project attempts to use the literature review to define project questions and background, analyze primary issues, identify needs and how to satisfy the through landscape research and design. To accomplish these purposes, primary literature resources include s Last Child in the Wood s by Richard Louv Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in the Natural Environment by Ruth Wilson, Play and Interplay by Paul Friedberg and Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children by Bonnie B. Hebert. The researcher review ed these literature s comprehensively, and select ed the specific contents which were most helpful for this project 2.2 Last Child in the Wood s Last Child i n the Wood s wa s written by Richard Louv. in April 2005 According to this book, children suffer from more physical and behavioral problems than before. With the development of society, kids are aware of more global issues to the environment but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature is fading because of urbanism, safety consideration, relevant environmental friendly policy and addi ction to electronic products S uch phenomena but is also harmful for their mental, emotional, spiritual and psychological health. Thus, an increasing number of children s uffer from nature deficit disorder (the behavio ral problems result from a lack of outdoor activities). B ased on this book, the main

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12 symptom of nature deficit disorder includes lack of sense ability, low integrated competence and other problems of mental and physical health. 8 Thus it is an essential problem for children and we must find effective ways to address it The book also states that nature can solve these problems and concern s for children effectively. Last Child in the Wood s claims that nature has an important therapeutic effect for children, playing in nature can help children to relieve pressure and bad emotion heal attention deficit disorder, stimulate sense perception and improve various competence for children. Therefore, what can be absorbed from this book, namely improving the relationship between children and nature is essential for ch ildren to heal or avoid nature deficit disorder Furthermore for more detail, Last Child in the Wood s mentions that Kaplan and Kaplan illustrate that children can pay more attention to what they do and avoid being distracted, after they spend time in nature which is called attention restoration theory According to Kaplan and Kaplan, too much directed attention leads to what they call directed impulsive behavior, agitation, irritation and an inab ility to concentrate. Instead, n ature is Moreover based on the research, the faculties in the office with beautiful natural views tend to provide lower pressure, m ore calmness and composure and are easier to stay in a good mood than the faculties in the office without natural views. S ome other professionals also developed similar perspectives that children would like to relax in the playground beca use the playground can act as a relief for them from the pressure of studying during the day. According to Cornell University environmental psychologists reported in 2003 a room with a view of nature can help protect children against stress,

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13 and that nature in or around the home appears to be a significant factor in protecting the psychological well being of children in rural areas As assistant professor of design and environmental analysis in the New York State College of Human Ecology at Cornell Ms. Nancy Wells mentioned: as much psychological distress in child ren who live in high nature cond itions compared with children who live in low Moreover, based on Last Child in the Wood s children with more nature near their homes received lower ratings than peers with less nature near their homes on measures of behavioral conduct disorders, anxiety, and depression. Based on the report, even in a rural setting with a rel ative abundance of green landscape s more nature appears to be better when it comes to bolstering adversity. 9 Thus, in general, n ature has a very but also benefit their emotional health and other competence, children can understand, explore nature and their surrounding environment spontaneously by pleasant play Furthermore, a ccording to this book, nature based intelligence is the eighth intelligence of human s and the core of naturalist intelligence is a recognize plants, animals, and other parts of the natural environment. According to a list of descriptors for children with the eighth intelligence, the characteristics of such types of children include having keen sensory skills, including sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, readily available, heightened sensory skills to notice and categorize things from the natural world, like to be outside, or like outside activities such as gardening, nature walks, or field trips geared toward observing nature or natural phenomena, interested in and care about animals and plants, and so forth Besides sensory effects nature can

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14 also stimulate the creativity of children when they play in the green environment. N ature can make children learn to imitate and create a connection between different things and it lets children explore, improve themselves and help children pro mote their ability in various fields. 10 In conclusion, The L ast Child in the Woods provides information in terms of the s the reasons behind these problems, information on how nature provide s therapeutic benefits emotional, psychological health and integrated competence and what therapeutic benefit children can get from nature These theories and perspectives illustrated from The Last Child in the Woods are helpful for the project as they provide guidance to help the researc determine how nature influence s s health, which can enlighten and provide information for the criteria and evaluation graphics for children playgrounds. 2.3 Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in the Natural Environment s According to Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and L earning in Natural Envi ronment s by Ruth Wilson in 2012, it is important to combine nature and play together, and let children participate in nature play. In terms of nature play for children, it includ es things such as digging in the sand, running through a pile of leaves or floating leaves and bark in a buck et of water. Based on this book, play with nature does not only mean in the nature, but also refers to play with natural environments and natural materials. Furthermore, this book comes up with a concept called authentic play,

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15 which is considered the best kind of play for young children The authentic play is fun, open ended, self directed, and freely chosen (Stephens, 2009). Authentic play occurs naturally when children and nature are brought together. 11 In addition to the discussion of the best play for children, Nature and Young Children also illustrated the benefits of nature play. In a review of the researchers on nature play, Erickson and Ernst (2011) identified four main benefits. First, nature play makes kids healthier by stimulating higher levels of physical activities. Second, nature play makes kids smarter by boosting brain development. Third, nature play makes kids feel better by fostering emotional well being and strengthening social bonds Fourth, nature play is good for the Earth by preconditioning children to care about the natural wo r ld later in life. 12 Based on the analysis for these points of the book, in general, nature can benefit mental, emotional health, which is similar to the points in the Last Child in the Woods. Moreover, this book also states that nature play not only benefit s children, but is also good for the Earth and natural world, and it is a benefit with a bigger v ision T his point is also similar to the Last Child in the Woods since it also discusses the eighth intelligence, and children with the eighth intelligence are more interested in natural environment. Therefore, based on these theoretical bases play in nature is good for both children and the world. Based on the Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in Natural Environment, it allows the researcher to have a better understanding of how children play in nature and what benefit s play can afford in general.

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16 2.4 Play and Interplay According to the book Play and Interlay written by Paul Friedberg in 1970 natural experience is significant for children, and the book also emphasiz es that water play is one of the most important elements for children as it has a therapeutic effect for them Furthermore, the book states an important concept called linked play. According to this book, linked play juxtaposes and ties different elements together and children can climb up and down, go through a variety of experiences on any mound, and enjoy moving from one mound to the next. T he choice of wh at to do next becomes an experience which can help children think about the surrounding environment independently Moreover, the more complex the playground, the more abundant the choices and the more enriched the learning experience. 13 Based on the analysis of the main points of this book linked play is an important point for a children playground which can help children understand their surrounding environment and filter information by pleasant play, and such an ability is discussed in the background and concern s which means that linked play could fit well With the linked structure, when children climb up and down a mound, they can think about what they can do next and this process lets them try to understand the su rrounding environment and make a choice by themselves Thus, children can not only improve their physical health but also c an enhance their mental heal th in this way. In the design of the criteria and graphics, described in this analysis it was determined essential to consider linked play as an important part of nature based children playground desig n. This might include using mounds, hills, or a variety of equipment for children to use that provide As what is

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17 stated in the Play and Interplay, the more complicated the playground is, the better therapeutic effect it has. Therefore, this book provides a r elative ly more specific statement about how children play in a n ature bas ed children playground, which provides the researcher further idea s about nature based play. 2. 5 Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children In addition to the therapeutic benefits and comprehensive abilit ies reserved from outdoor play, which is described in the Last Child in the Woods and Play and Interplay, outdoor play also provides significant physical healthy benefits for children. T he article, Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children by Bonnie B. Hebert Children on May, 2003 describes both the physical health and mental consideration s outdoor play with a focus on autistic children. Based on this book, engaging in activities that stimulate the vestibular and proprioceptive system, such as swinging, rocking, and spinning can contribute to autistic typically available indoors and are best experienced outside. 14 Based on the analysis of this idea of Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children physical activities can not only benefit physical health directly, but are in the outdoor environment can stimulate children s brain s Thus, for further research into the children playground the evaluator should also consider physical play as one of the important criteria for the children playground design

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18 2.6 Conclusion In conclusion, according to all the literature review s and analysis a nature based playground is important for children to heal or avoid nature deficit disorder improve their physical, mental emotional health and enhance their integrated compet ence such as cognitive ability. Moreover, play in nature can also let children take care of the natural world which also benefit s the Earth and world in the long run. To create an effective nature based playground, it is essential to study and analyze existing children playground s to determine what elements are most important Thus, it is significant to use the theoretical basis to develop some systematic nature based children playground criteria and graphics based on different considerations to define the concept and important design principles for a nature based playground Then the project can evaluate and analyze different children playground s based on the criteria and graphic s After the evaluation, the project will a nalyze the results of the evaluation to determine the final recommendations and general guidelines for a nature based children playground design based on a horizontal comparison of the evaluation of the existing playgrounds.

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19 Chapter 3 Methodology 3.1 Overview and Introduction 3 .1 .1 Pr ocedures for Evaluating Existing Playgrounds Evaluation To accomplish a comprehensive evaluation for the existing playgrounds, first, it is significant to determine how many criteria and graphics should be prepared, and it is also important to determine and define the main goal and ma in direction of each of the evaluation metric s as the graphics should focus on different design consideration s The metrics are created based on relevant theory and will be used to evaluate playgrounds. The results o f the evaluation should be reflected by grades, texts, and i mages 3 1. 2 Procedures for Evaluation Results Analysis After completing the evaluation and get ting the results, the next step is to compare the results. During the comparison and analysis, it is not only important to compare the results between the different playgroun d s but it is also important to provide a horizontal compari son between the same playground as each playground is evaluated more than once based on different graphics. Thus, the evaluator can determine the similarity and difference between the results, and can also find out what results are similar and have common points, which is helpful for the final guidance.

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20 3.1.3 Procedures for Accomplishing the General Guidelines for a Nature based Children Playground Design After the analysis of the resu lts, the final step is to develop a general guideline for a nature based children playground design in the future. Furthermore, after providing the guidance, it is also necessary to discuss what has not been done and what can be done in the future research for a nature based children playground to accomplish more helpful results for this topic. 3 .2 Evaluation Criteria Two unique evaluation metrics were defined for this project. The first is called the Nature based Children Playground Equipment Design Evaluation which mainly focus es on the nature based equipment design for the playground. However, it does not mean that this metric only address es the equipment issue and ignore s other important consideration s but its main consideration is about the equipment design. The second evaluation metric is called the Nature based Children Playgrou nd Site Design Evaluation which mainly focu s es on the larger scale and landscape environment of the playground rather than each equipment However, it also does not mean that this graphic only analyze s the landscape environment al part and address little about other consideration s This metric also includes some other important parts certain activity experience, but it pays attention to a larger scale and consider s the playground as a whole rather than focus on each piece of equipment The reason why the evaluator provides two different evaluation graphics is that the evaluator tries to analyze the playgrounds with a targeted evaluation. According to Last

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21 mental and emotional health such as creativity and cognitive ability. Therefore, it is difficult to address all these considerations well with graphics only Thus, using two different graphic s can help to come up with a more comprehensive evaluation results based on different consideration s and preference s Also, the first was designed entirely by the evaluator and the second was based entirely on Louv with the goal of validating the results fr om metric one --using criteria from the literature review. 3.2.1 Evaluation Metric One --The Nature Equipment Design Evaluation The first evaluation metric, t he Nature Playground Equipment Design Evaluation the Nature based Children Playground Equipment Design Evaluation Graphic, and includes consideration of equipment design, degree of context, and other natural elements There are five criteria which are described in the following section. 3. 2. 1.1 Evaluation Metric One: Material Form (Visual experience ) According to the Last Child in the Woods by Louv in 2005 children who live in a rural area are more likely to be happy and with less depressed emotion s than children who live in an urban area with limited natural scenery. 15 So what can the designers do for children in terms of nature based equipment design, especially for the equipment located in a playground with an urban context? According to the Meaning of Lines D eveloping a Visual Grammar by Steven Bradley c urved lines are softer than straight

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22 lines. They sweep and turn gracefully between end points. They are less definite and predictable than straight lines. Curved lines express fluid movement. 16 Therefore, based on the theory, curve lines are soft er and reflect fluid movement a nd it may be better if the equipment in the playground applies more curve d and organic forms to soften the unnatural environment in an urban area s During the evaluation for a children playground, playground equipment with more curved or organic forms received higher scores In t he scale used for this criteria 0 refers to equipment consisting of primarily orthogonal forms, 1 was provided to equip with a mix of orthogonal and organic forms and a score of 2 was provided for equipment consisting primarily of organic forms 3.2.1.2 Evaluation Metric One: Material Semblance (Visual Experience) In addition to the form (straight line or curve) of the equipment, the semblance is also a significant consideration because for nature based equipment other than the fact that it can mimic and evoke natural form s it can also be designed like natural objects such as trees, logs, animals or other plants and natural elements Thus, f or the criteria Figure 2. Example of equipment consisting primarily of organic forms (GameTime, Nature Themed Playground with Tube Slide ) Figure 1. Example of equipment consisting primarily of orthogonal forms ( Pinterest )

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23 to evaluate the semblance of equipment in a children playground, the equipment should look like natural elements even if the origin of the material does not come from nature because according to Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature by Danielle Cohen must environment one with trees and leaves. Moreover, just a picture of gre enery can benefit mental health. 17 Thus, these theories and conclusion reflect the im portance of a natural appearance greenery or other natural image s can help children maintain mental health. For example, the equipment in F igure 3 is not created from wood, but its semblance can be considered as nature based because its appearance looks like trunks in ter ms of its color, shape, and texture, so it provides a greenery and natural image for children and when they look at the equipment they can have an interaction with natural elements vis ually which has a therapeutic ef fect for their mental health. Therefore, such types of equipment can be considered as nature based because it provides a pleasant natural semblance and visual stimulation for children and allows children to enjoy natural image s when they play. Figure 4 reflects the equipment provides no natural semblance Figure 3 Example of equipment with natural semblance (Photo by author) Figure 4. Example of equipment without natural semblance (sheknows, How to keep your kids save on the playground)

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24 Th us in terms of the appearance the origin of the material (the initial status of the material before any artificial process) is not an absolute standard as the form and semblance of the equipment are more significant for children. T he origin of the material is not a strict criterion provided the equipment mimics and evokes natural elements successfully and provide s a natural visual e xperience for children During the evaluation of the semblance for the equipment, the equipment is scale d based on the greenery and natural image it provide s the more it resembles a natural element the higher score it will recieve where 0 refers to a low level for semblance, 1 refer s to equipment that has some natural semblance and 2 refers to a equipment that strongly resembles a natural object 3.2.1.3 Evaluation Metric One: Material Touch (Tactile experience ) Tactile experience refers to when people touch objects physically, they will have a perception and acknowledgement for the objects they touch based on the pattern, hardness, temperature and other experience of the objects. According to the Multisensory Environments: The Ben efits, time spent in a m ultisensory e nvironment has been shown to increase concentration, focus attention, improve alertness, awaken memories, and to improve mobilization, creativity, social relations and communications, and general awareness of the surrounding world. The varied optical, acoustic, olfactory and tactile stimuli help hyperactive individuals concentrate and focus better. 18 Therefore, what can be absorbed from this statement is that tactile experience also contributes to the multisensory environment, which can help children to improve their mental health and integrated ability. Furthermore, stated in Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in Natural Environment s by Ruth Wilson, both play and nature are important for children. 1 9

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25 Thus, the designer should not only provide a tactile experience for children, but also need s to combine the tactil e experience with nature, to provide a natural tactile experience for chi ldren to enjoy. In terms of the tactile experience evaluation of the equipment the evaluation is more strict than just the appearance to some extent because for visual effect, the designer can create man made natural image s and scenery for children to look, but for tactile sensation, it has to come from original natural elements such as wood, plants, sand water rocks and other natural elements because for example, in the case of F igure 4 the equipment is man made, with a trunk semblance ; however, it is not made of wood, so the tactile experience is different from that of original wood which includes temperature, hardness, and other tactile sensory elements even if it is trying to create a wood pattern. Thus, for appearance it can be considered as nature based equipment but for tactile evaluation it is not nature based and deserves a relatively low score because it provides a limited natural tactile experience for children. Therefore, in terms of the evaluation for tactile experience, water, plants, wood, sand, and stone deserve a relative ly high score because they can be found in original wild natural environment s with little man made process es However, for the elements such as plastics, concrete and other man made material s they should recei ve a relatively low scale as they have limited therapeutic effect and they hardly provide a natural tactile experience for children to interact with nature, improve their health condition and comprehensive ability. In terms of the evaluation for the tactile experience of an equip ment, 0 refers to a n equipment consisting of man made material s and provide little natural tactile experience

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26 ( F igure 5 ) 1 means medium which for the equipment provides a natural tactile experience for children but is still limited (Figure 6) and 2 refers to the equipment which consists of natural materials (wood, stone, plants, sand) ( F igure 7 ) Figure 5. Example of equipment consisting of man made material s and provide little natural tactile experience (landscape structures, Harry Thomas Sr Playspace) Figure 6. Example of quipment provides a natural tactile experience for children but is still limited ( Natural Playground at Montiavo Chelsea Baker, 2017) Figure 7. Example of equipment which consists of natural materials (Auburn University, Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve)

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27 3.2. 1.4 Evaluation Metric One: Degree of Context 3.2. 1.4.1 Indoor context Indoor context refers to a playground built within an enclosed interior ( F igure 8 ). As described in Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature by Danielle Cohen the natural and greenery image s can provide a therapeutic effect for children. Thus, an indoor playground is also helpful to some extent if it provides natural and greenery image s for children even if it cannot provide as many real natural elements as in the outside context. For example, in the children playground in Oaks Mall, Gainesville there are equipment that mimic the appearance of trees and woods and let children enjoy the semblance, do activities and play in this area even if it is an indoor playground However, the therapeutic effect of an indoor playground can be restricted by its location because there is limited sunlight, breeze, fresh air water, plants and othe r natural elements for children to enjoy to some extent. Furthermore, according to Last Child in the Woods nature deficit disorder refers to the be havioral problems due to a lack of outdoor activities. 20 Thus, the outdoor context is one of the most important considerations which has a and help s children to recover from or avoid nature deficit disorder while the indoor context cannot provide such a therapeutic effect as children are not able to interact with the outdoor environment in an indoor playground Th erefore based on these consideration s the physical, mental, and emotional health to a limited extent

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28 During the evaluation for the degree of context the indoor context deserves level 0 because of the limited therapeutic effect for children 3.2.1.4.2 Outdoor context -Unnatural Context In terms of the outdoor context, it includes an unnatural context, semi natural context and natural context. Unnatural context refers to the outdoor playground which is located in an area with a modern and man made network for people such as a well designed complicated road system, modern building s mix e d use architecture, and other mo dern urban elements For example, i n F igure 9 the playground is surrounded by a complicated road system, modern buildings and other city elements, so the context of this playground is considered in the unnatural context. Based on Last Child in the Woods as what has been illustrated, children who live in urban areas are more likely to have emotional problems because they usually lack the opportunities to enjoy the natural environment un like the children who live in a rural area. 21 Thus, for the unnatural context such as the city environment, it has limited therapeutic effect for children. Figure 8. Example of indoor context of playground which is built within an enclosed interior (Photo by author)

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29 During the evaluation for context, the outdoor unnatural context deserves a s core of 1 because it provides limited natural surrounding environment for children even if it is outside 3.2. 1.4.3 Outdoor context -Semi natural Context Semi natural context refers to the surrounding environment of the playground which is relative ly modern with advanced road systems, architectures and a variety of infrastructure ; however, it also includes many other natural elements and environment s, such as gre en area s and water For example, i n F igure s 10 and 11 the playground is located at the corner of a park, people can see the road systems and other infrastructure beside the playground, but people can also enjoy the natural scenery such as the green landscape, a variety of planted species, a lake and rocks Thus, the context of this children playground can be cons idered as semi natural as the context is a mixture of modern and natural elements The s emi natural context provides a better therapeutic effect for children than the unnatural context because it affords more natural scenery. Figure 9. Example of the playground with outdoor unnatural context ( hMa | HANRAHAN MEYERS ARCHITECTS | DESIGN IS A FRAME TO NATURE, Aerial view of Teardrop Park showing green roofs and heliostats)

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30 During the evaluation for context the outdoor semi natural context receives a score of 2 because it provides a natural environment for children to enjoy even if it is not as much as some rural area s. 3.2. 1.4 .4 Outdoor context -N atural Context Natural context refers to the playground which is located in the environmen t with abundant natural elements and limited man made elements, like the rural area, natural habitat, and forests For example, in F igure 12 the playground is built in a natural woodland forest with very lim ited man made elements, so the context of this playground can be considered as natural During the evaluation for context, the outdoor natural context receives a score of 3 because and emotional health. Figure 10. Example of playground with outdoor semi natural context Figure 11. Example of playground with outdoor semi natural context (Photo by author) Figure 10. Example of playground with outdoor semi natural context (The Gainesville Sun)

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31 3.2.1.5 Evaluation Metric One: Other Natural Elements In addition to play equipment and context there are also some other elements which also have important therapeutic effect s for children even if they are not directly as part of the play equipment As stated according to the Multisensory Environments: The Benefits, time spent in a m ultisensory e nvironment t he varied optical, acoustic, olfactory and tactile stimuli help hyperactive individuals concentrate and focus better. 22 Thus, o ther natural elements are also important as they provid e a multi sensory environment in terms of visual, tactile, or olfactory stimulation mental health Other natural elements include plants, water, sand, stone and rock. For the evaluation of other natural elements, the more elements are provide d and designed, the higher score the playground can receive where 0 refers to a clear low level for this criterion (with limited other natural elements) 1 means medium (there are some other natural elements provided but still not enough) and 2 refers to a high level for this criterion ( there are abundant natural elements, which provides a variety of experience for children to enjoy ). Figure 12. Example of playground with outdoor natural context (James Corner Field Operations. The Woodland Discovery Playground)

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32 3.2.1 .6 Evaluation Metric One : Graphic Design Based on the analysis of the criteria, the first evaluation metric was created and used to evaluate existing children playground equipment as shown in Figure 1 3 Figure 1 3 First evaluation metric (Graphic by author) In this metric the five previously described criteria are listed including the form of the equipment, semblance of the equipment, tactile experience of the equipment, degree of context and presence of other natural elements I t is necessary to have a weighting scheme for the evaluation, to reflect the degree of importance of the criteria D uring the evaluation, the criteria which is more important should ha ve a stronger influence on the evaluation results while the criteria with relative ly lower importance will have a slight impact on the evaluation results. For the form of the equipment, its weight is 2 because form does not contribute in the same degree to a nature based experience as the other criter i a do After the evaluator provides a scale for each separate piece of equipment based on the criteria, the next step is to multiple the scale with its weight respectively. Next the playground can receive a score to reflect the overall score of the corresponding criteria. Next, the

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33 evaluator should add these overall score s to obtain a n overall result for the playground as a whole, which can reflect the degree of nature based the playground is based on the criteria of this first evaluation metric The evaluator may then divide the overall score by the total possible points available in the metric to get the percentage score. For example, if a playground receives 10 points out of total of 20 possible points, the percentage score would be 50%. 3.2.1 Evaluation Metric Two --the Nature based Children Design Evaluation The second evaluation graphic, the Nature based Children Playground Site Design Evaluation includes the consideration for natural view s and green landscape, opportunities for activities, sensory experience, degree of context, and other natural elements. T he theory behind the criteria is mainly referenced from Last Child in the Woods. 3.2 .2 .1 Evaluation Metric Two: Natural View and Green Landscape According to Last Child in the Wood natural view s have a therapeutic effect for children and other people. For example, based on Louv, the research has shown that subjects experienced significant decreases in blood pressure simply by watching fish in an aquarium. Moreover, according to Louv, Gordon Orians, professor emeritus of Z oology at the University of Washington, says such research suggests that our visual environment profoundly affects our physical and mental well being. Therefo re, based on these illustrations, natural view s and visual experience s have significant therapeuti c effect s according to Last Child in the Wood s green space fosters social interaction and thereby

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34 promotes social support. A g reen landscape not only has a therapeutic effect for children but also provides an opportunity for them to have fun and interact with each other i n the green space. 23 Thus, natural view s and a green landscape ( F igure 1 4 ) can be considered as important criteria for a nature based children playground evaluation. During the evaluation and analysis of the playground the more natural view s and green landscape s the playground provides, the better therapeutic effect it has, and the higher the score the playground can receive where 0 refers to the playground provide s few natur a l view s and green landscape s 1 means the playground provides some natural view s and green landscape s but they are still not enough and 2 refers to playground has a lot of natural view s and green landscape s which is enough and good for children to enjoy 3. 2.2.2 Evaluation Metric Two: Opportunities for Children to Interact with Nature by Doing Nature based Activities According to Last Child in the Wood s a natural landscape, or at least gardens, can be therapeutic and restorative because they provide certain activity opportunities for Figure 14. Example of playground with natural view and green landscape (Red Kite Days, South Stoke Park Playground)

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35 children which can benefit their health Spending time in the garden, or digging can a nd digging in the soil has a curative effect on the mentally ill. 24 This research illustrates that nature has the power to shape the psyche. For example, the designer can provide a small hill, a mound for children because children interpret and give meaning to a piece of the landscape, and the same piece can be interpreted diff erently. 25 Thus, when the evaluator analyze s the playgrounds or the designers create the playgrounds the elements such as a small hill, or a mound are good consideration s motivate s them to interpret and think spontaneously (F igure 1 6 ) The similar point is also stated in the Play and Interplay which described that linked play juxtapositions and ties different elements together and children can climb up and down, go through a variety of experiences on any mound, and enjoy moving from one mound to the next. A lso, t he choice of what to do next becomes an experience which ca n help children think about the surrounding environment independently. 2 6 Both of the sources consider mound s nds can create a unique process to stimulate children to think and understand the environment by themselves. Moreover, the Last Child in the Woods also state s that designers can provide more opportunities for children to sit in, on or under some equipment. (Figure 17) For example, when children sit under something, they have the sense of safety, so they can enjoy a natural view in a relative ly private place and have a unique experience. 2 7

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36 In terms of the evaluation for opportunities for children to interact with nature by doing certain activities, 0 refers to limited opportunities to do nature based activities, 1 Figure 15. Digging sand can help children improve mental health ( 2016 ) Figure 16. A small hill, or a mound can and motivates children to interpret and think spontaneously (Playtime) Figure 17. Children play on or under equipment (Pinterest, Map of Play)

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37 refers to opportunities to do nature based activities that are available but not enough, and 2 means a lot of opportunities are available to do nature based activities. 3.2.2.3 Evaluation Metric Two: Sensory Experience According to Last Child in the Wood s natural settings are essential for healthy child development because they stimulate all the senses and integrate informal play with formal learning. A m ultisensory experience in nature help s to build the cognitive constructs necessary for sustained intellectual development, and stimulate s the imaginati imaginations and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity observable in almost any group of children playing in a multisensory natural setting. 2 8 Thus, it is important to provide a multisensory environment for children to stimulate their cognition ability by sensory stimulation, and in addition to a visual experience, tactile experience, and olfactory experience and so forth play (Figures 1 8 and 1 9 ) Figure 18. Multisensory environment (such as olfactory stimulation) has therapeutic effect for children ability. (Telegraph, A young boy smells a daffodil ) Figure 19. Multisensory environment (such as tactile stimulation) has therapeutic effect for (NSTA Blog)

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38 In terms of the evaluation for the multisensory environment, the more multisensory experien ce is available for children, the higher the score the playground should receive From a scale of 0 to 2 0 refers to extremely limited multisensory experience for c hildren to enjoy visual, tactile, olfactory stimulation 1 stands for the multisensory experience is available for children to enjoy but still not enough and 2 represents playground has a lot of multisensory environment for children to enjoy and improve their health condition. 3.2.2.4 Evaluation Metric Two: Degree of Context According to Last Child in the Wood s it also illustrates the importance of context for a children playground. From this book, play in natural settings can offer special benefits and children are more physically active when they are outside. Thus, outside play is preferable and effective than indoor play in terms of physical health. Moreover, based on this book, a natural context is the best environment for children to play. The studies compared preschool children who played every day on typically flat playgrounds to children who played for the same amount of time among the trees, rocks, and uneven areas tested better for motor fitness, especially in balance and agility. T he pr ofessionals found that children with more nature near their homes received lower ratings than peers with less nature near their homes in terms of measures of behavioral conduct disorder s anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, c hildren with more nature near their home rated themselves higher than other children. E ven in a rural setting with a relative abundance of green landscap ing more nature appears to be better when it comes to bolstering ion s 29 Therefore for the playground context, the outdoor context is better than the indoor context and among the

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39 out door context, the natural context is the most preferable as it provides a more natural experience for children to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health condition comprehensively During the evaluation for the context, 0 refers to an indoor context, 1 refers to an outdoor unnatural context, 2 represents an outdoor semi natural context, and 3 stands for an outdoor natural context. Figure 20 Example of indoor context of playground which is built within an enclosed interior (Photo by author) Figure 21 Example of the playground with outdoor unnatural context ( hMa | HANRAHAN MEYERS ARCHITECTS | DESIGN IS A FRAME TO NATURE, Aerial view of Teardrop Park showing green roofs and heliostats) Figure 22 Example of playground with outdoor semi natural context (The Gainesville Sun) Figure 23 Example of playground with outdoor natural context (James Corner Field Operations. The Woodland Discovery Playground)

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40 3.2.2.5 Evaluation Metric Two: Other Natural Elements Based on Last Child in the Wood s other natural elements for a natural play area might include water, trees, bushes, flowers, long grasses and sand (best if it can be mixed with water) ( F igure 24 ). Furthermore, researchers have also observed that when children played in an environment dominated by play structures rather than natural elements, they established their social hierarchy through physical competence; after an open grassy area was planted with shrubs, the quality of play in what researchers their social standing became based less on physical abilities and more on language skills, creativity, and inventivenes s. In other words, the more creative children emerged as leaders in the natural play area a nd with these natural settings and elements, children have greater ability to concentrate. 30 Therefore, play equipment and other natural elements have different functions and therapeut ic effect s on E quipment mental health and other comprehensive ability. In terms of the evaluation for other natural elements, the more natural elements t he playground has the higher the scale it will receive where 0 represents a lack of other natural elements in the playground 1 refers to those that have some natural elements but not still limited for children to use and 2 represents an abundance of natural elements and children can enjoy them to improve their health

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41 3.2.2.6 Evaluation Metric Two: Graphic Design Figure 25 Second evaluation metric (Graphic by author) Figure 24. There are natural elements in the play area which include water, plants, and sand ( Playground, Boulder Climb and Waterfall)

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42 As what is shown in the second graphic, ( Figure 25 ), this evaluation graphic is created based on the second criteria. The format of the second evaluation graphic is similar to the first one, the only difference is that this format evaluates the playground as a whole rather than focus ing on each equipment respectively. For the calculation of the second graphic the evaluator should multiply the scale of each criteria with the weight respectively, then add the score of each criterion together to obtain the overall score based on the criteria. T he evaluator use s the full score to divide the overall degree to get the percentage score of the playground, which reflects how success ful the playground is in terms of nature based design 3.3 Existing Children Playgrounds Selection After designing the two evaluation criteria and graphics, the next step is to select the children playgrounds which should be evaluated. The main principle to select the playgrounds is that the selected playgrounds should be in different region s rather than b e from the same area. Moreover, the playgrounds should also be in a different context which includes the indoor context, outdoor unnatural context, outdoor semi natural context, and outdoor natural context as described in the criteria. Thus, the evaluator can obtain more objective and comprehensive evaluation results from these different playgrounds. Based on this principle, the evaluator selected six different playgrounds with different locations and contexts, which include : Oaks Mall Children s Playground (Indoor context, Gainesville FL ) ( F igure 26 ) Depot Park Children Playground (Outdoor semi natural context, Gainesville FL ) ( F igure 27 ) Alfred A. Ring Park Children Playground ( Outdoor natural context, Gainesville, FL) ( F igure 2 8 ) Woodland

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43 Discovery Playground (Outdoor natural context, Cordova, TN ) ( F igure 2 9 ) ( Outdoor unnatural context, New York, NY) ( F igure 30 ) and Tumbling Bay Park Playground (Outdoor semi natural context, London) ( F igure 31 ) Figure 26. Oaks Mall Children Playground (Photos for the Oaks Mall) Figure 27. Depot Park Children Playground (Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency, Depot Park) Figure 28. Alfred A. Ring Park (Photo by author) Figure 29. Woodland Discovery Playground (Shelby Farm Park, Woodland Discovery Playground) Figure 30. Teardrop Park (Flickr, Teardrop Park Playground) Figure 31. Tumbling Bay Playground (Landscape Pages, Tumbling Bay Playground

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44 3.4 Evaluation Methods The next step is to conduct the evaluations, and there are several consideration s need ed to be addressed, including safeguards for consistency and objectivity, and duration at each site. In terms of site visiting, the evaluator visits the site at the same time (2:00 pm) during the weekend make notes based on the observation and pictures taken by the evaluator, which spend 2 hours per playground in average (depen d on the scale of the playground). The evaluation should be equal and objective for every playground in terms of the observation process, evaluation process and analysis process.

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45 Chapter 4. Results and Discussion 4.1 Results for Playground One 4.1.1 Oaks Mall Children Playground Evaluation One Location: 6275 W Newberry Rd, Gainesville, FL 32605 Oaks Mall Children Playground located in the O aks Mall shopping area, so the context of this playground is indoor. In terms of the equipment design, the equipment do es a good job in form and semblance which provide s natural and greenery image s for children such as trees, ponds and animals. However, the material is man made with an artificial tactile experience which do es no t provide a natural tactile experience for children at all and with limited therapeutic effect based on the natural tactile environment Moreover, because of the restriction of being indoor s the playground provides no other natural elemen ts for the children to have a multi sensory experience. Thus, in general, this playground receive s a relative ly low overall score in terms of nature based design since the indoor context is one of the main restri ction s of this playground design for many parts such as mult i sensory environment and other natural elements design Based on the observation of the evaluator t here are many children who play in this area every day However, the children who play in this playground can just have fun in there rather than gai n effective therapeutic benefit s and improve th eir physical, mental, and emotional h ealth and comprehensive ability.

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46 Figure 32 Oaks Mall Children Playground f irst e valuation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 30% Playground (Oaks Mall, Soft Playground) Figure 33 Equipment 1 in Oaks Mall Children Playground (Photo by author)

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47 4.1.2 Oaks Mall Children Playground Evaluation Two In terms of evaluation two for the Oaks Mall Children Playground based on the second metric the Oaks Mall Children Playground provides a natural view such as the artificial tree, pond or animal. However, the natural view looks fake and there is no green space for the children to use. For certain activities and experience s the c hildren can sit in the t ree hole, sit in the boat, but they are not able to dig any sand or contemplate and interact with mound s and hill s In terms of the multisensory experience, the playground provides a very limited multisensory environment without any natural tactile or olfactory experience. T here are no other natural elements compared to t hat discussed in the first evaluation. Figure 35. Equipment 3 in Oaks (Rose in Oaks Mall, Gainesville)

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48 Figure 36 Oaks Mall Children Playground second evaluation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 18% (versus 30% from the first evaluation graphic) Figure 37. Image of Playground: Tree with a hole, children can sit in there (Graphic by author) Figure 38. Playground: Children sit in the Oaks Mall, Gainesville)

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49 4.2 Results for Playground T wo 4.2.1 Depot Park Children Playground Evaluation One Location: 200 SE Depot Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 The Depot Park Children Playground is located at the downtown area in Gainesville with the semi natural context. There are a variety of plants, sand, rocks, groundcover with different color s shape s, and texture s which provide s a multi sensory environment for children to interact with nature There are nine equipment in the playground in total some of which are designed with very good semblance such as a tree trunk and yellow rocks, which provide interesting natural image s for the children However, the equipment is not able to provide natu ral tactile experience for child ren because the material of the equipment is artificial lacks a natural tactile impression even if the semblance of the natural image is successful. I n terms of other equipment, they are not considered nature based because they do not possess fo rm, semblance or tactile qualities that score high in the metric even if their structure may be creative and beautiful.

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50 Figure 39 Depot Park Children Playground first e valuation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 53% Figure 40 Equipment 1 in Depot Park Children Playground (Photo by author) Figure 41. Equipment 2 in Depot Park Children (Photo by author)

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51 Figure 42. Equipment 3 in Depot Park Children Playground (Photo by author) Figure 43. Equipment 4 in Depot Park Children Playground (Photo by author) Playground (Photo by author) Playground ( Photo by author) Playground (Photo by author) Playground (Photo to author)

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52 4.2.2 Depot Park Children Playground Evaluation Two In terms of the evaluation based on the second metric Depot Park Children Playground provides a natural view and green space for children to enjoy, and for the entrance of the playground, the designer provides a long natural vista with a variety of plant ings rocks and water features For certain activities and experience s the children can do activities such as dig in a unique experience which can benefit their mental health and comprehensive ability Compared to that analyzed in evaluation one, t he playground includes a variety of natural elements which pr ovide a multisensory environment for the children Figure 48. Equipment 9 in (Photo by author)

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53 Figure 49. Beautiful natural environment of Depot Park Children Playground (Photo by author) Figure Playground (Photo by author) Figure 51. Green space of Depot Park Playground (Photo by author) Figure 52. Children dig the sand in Depot Park Children Playground (Photo by author) Figure 53. This equipment in Depot Park Children and let children play on it or sit in it to have a more private space (Photo by author)

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54 Figure 54 Depot Park Children Playground second evaluation Percentage score: 73% (Versus 53% of the first evaluation graphic) 4.3 Results for Playground Three 4.3.1 Alfred A. Ring Park Children Playground Evaluation One Location: 1801 NW 23rd Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32605 In terms of the context the R ing Park Children Playground located in a natural area with a forest, natural habitat, creek and such types of natural context provide s a good environment for children to have a n intimate interaction with nature. However, for the playground design, it is not considered as nature based in general because in terms of the two equipment in the playground, the design of the equipment is very simple and

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55 consists of rigid straight line s without curve s to soften the environment and provide a fluid impression Furthermore, the equipment is with no semblance to natural and greenery image and also provide s no natural tactile experie nce for the children. Moreover, in terms of other natural elements, there is no planted species water, sand, or rock s in the playground for c hildren to enjoy the natural environment. Thus, the therapeutic effect for children to improve their mental, emotional health and integrated competence is limited if based solely on the equipment design Figure 55 Ring Park Children Playground first e valuation ( Graphic by author) Percentage score: 43% Figure 56. Equipment 1 in Ring Park Childre Playground (Photo by author) Playground (Photo by author)

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56 Figure 58 Natural context of Ring Park Children Playground (Photo by author) 4.3.2 Alfred A. Ring Park Children Playground Evaluation One As stated in the first evaluation of Ring Park, the playground is located in a natural context which has therapeutic benefit s However, in addition to the existing natural context, in terms of the playground itself, there is little green space of the playground for children to use when they play in here The design for natural elements are limited and provides little multisensory environment for the children to improve their cognitive ability For nature based activities there are no opportunities for children to dig in the sand, sit in, on or under the equipment or play with linked hills or mounds. Thus, it is difficult for the playground to stimulate children to think spontaneously, improve mental health and competence from interacting with the playground.

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57 Figure 59 Ring Park Children Playground second evaluation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 36% (Versus 43% of the first evaluation graphic) Playground (Photo by author) Playground (Photo by author)

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58 Figure 62 Design of Ring Park Children Playground without multisensory environment, and other elements for children (Photo by author) 4.4 Results for Playground Four 4 .4 .1 Woodland Discovery Playground Evaluation One Location: N Pine Lake Dr, Cordova, TN 38018 The Woodland Discovery Playground located in the W oodland forest provide s a natural context for the playground and let s children play in nature There are six equipment in the playground Few of the equipment are designed with natural semblance ; however, they occur within a natural setting and provide a tactile experience as some of them are designed from wood and are combine d with trees other plants, rocks, and sands which provide opportunities for children to interact with nature by play Nevertheless some other equipment is designed with limited natural elements.

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59 Figure 63 Woodland Discovery Playground first e valuation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 72% Figure 64 Equipment 1 of Woodland Discovery Playground ( Shelby Farms Memphis, Tennessee )

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60 Figure 65. Equipment 2 in Woodland Discovery Playground ( Shelby Farms Memphis, Tennessee) Figure 6 6 Equipment 3 in Woodland Discovery Playground ( Shelby Farms Memphis, Tennessee) Figure 67. Equipment 4 in Woodland Discovery Playground ( Shelby Farms Park, Woodland Discovery Play gr ound) Figure 6 8 Equipment 5 in Woodland Discovery Playground ( Carefree in Memphis, Tennessee) Figure 69. Equipment 6 in Woodland Discovery Playground (James Corner Field Operations, Woodland Discovery Playground at Shelby Farms Park)

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61 4.4.2 Woodland Discovery Playground Evaluation Two In terms of the natural view and green landscape s the playground provides trees, plants, and rocks and let s children enjoy the natural setting For certain activities and experience, c hildren can dig in the sand in the playground. But there is no small hill or mound available for children to have a linked play The playground also provides a multisensory environment by a variety of planted species, and rocks so the children can have a visual, olfactory, and tactile experience to improve their cognitive competence. Figure 70 Natural context of Woodland Discovery Playground ( The Architects Newspaper, The Memphis Movement) Figure 71 Plants, rocks and other natural settings in Woodland Discovery Playground ( Category Archives: Tennessee)

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62 Figure 72 Woodland Discovery Playground second evaluation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 82% (Versus 72% of the first evaluation graphic) 4.5 Results for Playground Five 4.5.1 Teardrop Park Playground Evaluation One Location: Warren St, New York, NY 10005 Teardrop Park Playground is located in New York City, in an area with unnatural context. However, in this playground, there are a variety of natural elements which include different types of planted species, rocks, stone s water, and sand S uch a design provide s a n interesting unique and beautiful natural environment for the children to enjoy and also make s a contrast between the modern city. In terms of the equipment design, it combines curves and straight line s together, and it also pay s attention to the combination with nature, such as rocks, mounds, little hill s sand, and water which provides opportunities for children to play with nature intimately The

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63 equipment is not designed with natural semblance; however, it is even better than natural semblance as it uses the origin al natural material to reflect a real natural and green image ry B ecause of the application of a variety of natural elements, the equipment provides different natural tactile experience s for the children to improve their cognitive ability. I n general, this playground design is nature based and successful even if it is in an unnatural context Figure 73 Teardrop Park Playground first e valuation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 74% Figure 74. Equipment 1 in Teardrop Park Playground (Steven Greer, 2013) Figure 75. Equipment 2 in Teardrop Park Playground ( Michael Geffel)

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64 Figure 76. Equipment 3 in Teardrop Park Playground (Teardrop Park, NYC) Figure 77. Outdoor unnatural context of Teardrop Park (Beautiful New York, Teardrop Park)

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65 4.5.2 Teardrop Park Playground Evaluation Two In terms of the evaluation by metric two, the natural view and green landscape in the playground provide s a contrast with the modern city. Children who live in New York City lack the opportunity to interact with nature or play freely, and this park provide s a good change for them to enjoy the natural environment in this busy modern area. For activities, the children can not only dig in the sand, but also can climb the rock and hill, which can stimulate them to understand the natural environment by th emselves and also improve their imagination. Figure 78 Teardrop Park Playground second evaluation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 73% (Versus 74% of the first evaluation graphic)

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66 4.6 Results for Playground Six 4.6.1 Tumbling Bay Park Playground Evaluation One Location: London Legacy Development Corporation Tumbling Bay Park is located in a semi natural context, a large area of flat tarmac. One of the Olympic g ames concourses, located between the former a village and the Velodrome and bordering the Village River Lea wetland basin Near to the Figure 79. Plan view of Teardrop Park (Flickr, Teardrop Park) Figure 80. Children play with water in Teardrop Park (Summer NYC, Teardrop P ark, 2007) Figure 81. Equipment of Teardrop Park is designed with other natural element such as rocks, plants (NC State College of Design, Teardrop Park) Figure 82. Unnatural context of Teardrop Park (Toddling Round New York)

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67 playground, there is a natural long vista provided for people to enjoy the green scenery with a variety of planted species. There is large equipment for children to play on which is mainly designed using straight lines ; however, it does not influence its natural image as the equipment is designed with branches, wood and plants which not only provide a natural view for the children but als o affords a natural tactile experience Moreover, other natural elements are used to improve the natura l atmosphere of the playground. Figure 83 Tumbling Bay Park first e valuation (Graphic by author) Percentage score: 90%

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68 Figure 84 Erect architecture, Tumbling Bay Playground ) Figure 85 Natural vista in Tumbling Bay Playground ( Outdoor Play Space s for Children )

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69 Figure 86. When children climb the equipment in Tumbling Bay Playground they can overlook and enjoy natural scenery (LUC) Figure 87. Nature based equipment in Tumbling Bay Playground ( Landscape Tumbling Bay Playground, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Climbing Tower)

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70 4.6.2 Tumbling Bay Park Playground Evaluation Two In terms of the evaluation based on the second metric t he playground provides a beautiful natural view and green landscape for the children and other people to enjoy the nature, which includes a long green vista and other natural scenery as that illustrated in evaluation one In terms of certain activities, the c hildren can climb and walk on the equipment and can also stand in the high point s of the branches to enjoy Figure 88. Nature based equipment in Tumbling Bay Playground (Pinterest) Figure 89. Nature based equipment in Tumbling Bay Playground (Erect architecture, Tumbling Bay Playground)

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71 the natural view, which provide s a very good o pportunity for the children to play in nature. But there is no wa ter, sand mound or hill for the children to play. Figure 90 Tumbling Bay Playground second evaluation Percentag e score: 73% (Versus 90% of the first evaluation graphic) (Graphic by author) Figure 91 Other natural elements in Tumbling Bay Playground ( Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Balance Logs ) Figure 92 Nature based equipment in Tumbling Bay Playground ( Playground, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Overview ) (Out of 22) (Graphic by author)

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72 4.7 Results Analysis After completing the evaluations based on two different metrics the objective was t o compare the results of the evaluations analyze the common points and difference of the results, and the reasons result ing in such types of similarities and difference s ( Figure 93 ) which is helpful to provide general guidance for the design criteria of the nature based children playground Figure 93 Results Comparison (Graphic by author) In terms of the results of the evaluations based on two different metrics a few differences are immediately evident. F or the first evaluation, the Woodland Discovery Playground gets a 72% score and is placed third among the playground s while for the second evaluation, it obtains an 82% score and gains the highest score among the six playgrounds. For the Tumbling Bay Park Playground it receives a 90% score in the first evaluation for first place while for the second evaluation, it receives a 73% score similar to Teardrop Park and Depot Park Depot Park receives a 53% score in evaluation one but it receives a higher percentage score, namely 73% for the second evaluation For Teardrop Park, it receives almost the same percentage score in the second evaluation. I n terms of the Ring Park Children Playground and the Oaks Mall Children Playground, the y receive low percentage score s for both evaluation s To analyze the results of the two evaluation s and the similarities and difference s between them, it is important to determine the common points and difference s of these t wo evaluation criteria and graphic s

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73 In terms of the common points, both criteria consider the context as a significant part for a nature based children playground and according to both evaluation s the outdoor natural environment is the most ideal context for children because it can can improve mental, emotional health and relieve pressure for children. Furthermore both ev aluation s pay attention to the multi sensory design emphasize the importance of providing visual and tactile stimulation for children to improve their cognitive ability. Moreover both evaluation s consider ed other natural elements such as the inclusion of plants, water, rocks, and sand to be important These natural elements may not be part of the play equipment but they make a significant contribution to the therapeutic natural environment and especially s mental health In terms of the difference s the first evaluation focus e s on the design for each equipment, which includes the form, semblance, and tactile impression of the equipment But for the second evaluation, it pays more attention to how children use the equipment rather than the design format. For example, it does not mention the criteria of the equipment design, but it states that dig ging in the sand, contemplating in front of the hill s or mound s and sit ting in, on or under the equipment is good for children Furthermore, compare d with the first evaluation, the second evaluation considers the big picture of the playground rather than the specific design idea of the equipment. For example, it considers the n atural view and green landscape s as important parts of the playground because the children can improve their health by enjoying a therapeutic natural view and they can also interact with others on the green landscape s

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74 Thus, based on the analysis, i f the equipment of the playground provide s a natural image using real natural elements or semblance, and also provides a natural tactile experience using the equipment, the playground is more likely to receive a high score in the first evaluation I f the children can d o certain activities such as dig ging in the sand contempla ting and think ing based on the interaction with mounds or hills sit ting in, on or under the equipment, or there are abundant natural view s and green landscape s in general, the playground is more likely to receive a high score in the second evaluation. If the playground provides a multisensory natural environment and use s a variety of natural elements, it is likely to get a high score for both evalua tion s However, if the playground is located in an indoor context, or if the playground itself provide s l ittle multi sensory environment, the playground is likely to receive a low score for both evaluation s like the Oaks Mall Playground and Ring Park Playground 4.8 General Guidelines for Nature based Playground Design Based on the analysis and combination of the evaluation results the evaluator devised a general guideline for a nature based children playground consideration and design First, in terms of the design context of the children playground, the outdoor natural context is the most preferable background as and also improve their mental, emotional, and psychological health. (Figure 94 )

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75 F igure 9 4 Nature context of children playground ( The Woodland Discover y Playground) Second, natural elements design is essential for children playground which includes plants, long grasses, sand, rocks, water, and animals. Figure 9 5 Natural elements for children (Image by author) Third, natural visual, tactile, olfactory and other sensory experience are significant because a multisensory environment can help children to improve their cognitive competence. Fourth, a n atural view and open green landscaping has therapeutic effect s on and emotional health and also provide s opportunities to let children interact with each other in a nature based environment

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76 Figure 9 6 Green landscape in children playground (Photo by author) Fifth, fo r the equipment design, the designer should consider the form and semblance of the equipment since interaction with natural forms may benefit physical health Organic forms are preferable to or thogonal lines, since curve can soften the environment, reflect fluid impression and provide nature based image s for the playground In terms of natural semblance, it can provide natural image for children to improve their physical, emotional health, which has important therapeutic effect. T actile experience is also a n important consideration of nature based equipment because when children use t he equipment, it should provide differ ent natural experience s for them which arguably cannot be replaced by the tactile experience in urban/suburban environments Sixth, digging in the sand, contemplating in front of the hill s or mound s and sit ting in, on or under the equipment to enjoy the nat ural view mental and emotional health.

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77 Figure 9 7. Children sit in Magical Backyards)

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78 Chapter 5 Conclusion s Based on the research conducted in this project a nature based children playground has significant therapeutic effect s for children to help them recover from or avoid nature defici t disorder and improve their physical, me ntal, emotional, psychological health and comprehensive ability such as cognitive ability, social ability and other competence. This project identifies general guidelines for the nature based children playground design in the future in terms of the context, equipment design, natural elements design and other principles which have been illustrated in the last section Nevertheless the results of this project are still limited to some extent. First, in addition to the evaluation results it is also necessary to ask other evaluators to co nduct evaluation to avoid subjectivity. Thus, the evaluators and researchers can obtain a more comprehensive, objective result based on different evaluations from different evaluators. Second in the second evaluation metric, the criteria emphasize the therapeutic effect of hills and mounds. However, there may be alternative approaches to achieving the benefits of hills and mounds particularly in a place with flat topography. For example, the researcher may consider about can the same benefit be obtained via carefully design/placement of equipment. This idea represents a potential limitation to the applicability of metric two in different locations. Third the combination of the two metrics may be more useful for evaluation in the future or the improvement of metrics is necessary to gain a better result to some extent. For example the metrics currently include some criteria which are similar or overlap. A potential improvement would be to remo ve the similar parts of the two metrics, so the evaluations may be more focused on

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79 different topics have less overlap (which results in possible overemphasis of a single criteria), and attain a more obvious contrast between the results and constitute a more comprehensive evaluation Fourth in terms of the new questions come from evaluation results, in the future, the evaluator can study the relationship between nature based design and popularity because according to the result of evalu ation, Oaks Mall children play in here. Thus, based on this phenomenon, a playground can be fun even though it has limited nature based design. Therefore, it is meaningful to study the relationship between nature based design and popularity of playgrounds to figure out how to create a playground which is not only popular but also with nat ure based therapeutic effect for children. Thus, children can not only have fun in playgrounds but also improve their health condition. Fifth, according to evaluation, Alfred A. Ring Park (located in outdoor natural context) receives low score in terms of nature based equipment design, which makes evaluator consider about that is it equally important for play equipment in a natural setting to exhibit natural design qualities when compared to a playground in an urban environment, which is a good question f or researcher to study and solve in the future. Sixth in the future, the evaluator can think about how playground design may vary in very natural environments in contrast to urban environment s For example, how things like travel distance to a playground and the surrounding land uses may also impact the value of the n ature based experience. For example, t here are many potential avenues for continuing the study of nature based children playground s which may be explore in the future.

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80 However, this study provides a starting point for analyzing and identifying the critical design elements within a playground which can contribute to and enhance the nature based experience.

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81 Bibliography 1. Louv, R. (2006). Last child in the woods North Carolina, USA: Algonquin Books od Chapel Hill. 2. General Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/general/ 3. Louv. (2006). Last child 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Wilson, R. A. (2012). Nature and young children: encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments London: Routledge. 12. Ibid. 13. Friedberg, M. P., & Berkeley, E. P. (1970). Play and interplay Johannesburg: Macmillan. 14. D esign G uidelines of a T herapeutic G arden for A utistic ... (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2017, from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=BBA3C6394C4440D8B6C0ADA09B8C2C08&CID=3 C61D9639CCF6C563553D33E9D5F6D6C&rd=1&h=3IF8Iih9EUycctc4l5rwjSB1

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82 Q8kj79ailOboJUWZQIc&v=1&r=http%3a%2f%2fetd.lsu.edu%2fdocs%2favailable %2fetd 0127103 211300%2funrestricte d%2fHebert_thesis.pdf&p=DevEx,5060.1 15. Louv. (2006). Last child 16. The Meaning of Lines: Developing A Visual Grammar. (2010, March 29). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from http://vanseodesign .com/web design/visual grammar lines/ 17. Danielle Cohen is a freelance journalist in New York City. (n.d.). Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from https://childmind.org/article/why kids need to spend time in nature/ 18. Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from http://www.cdhaf.org/multi sensory environments the benefits/ 19. Wilson. (2012). Nature and young children 20. Louv. (2006). Last child 21. Ibid. 22. Christopher. Multisensory. 23. Louv. (2006). Last child 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Friedberg. (1970). Play 27. Louv. (2006). Last child 28. Ibid. 29. Ibid. 30. Ibid.