The Hidden Structure of Children's Play in an Urban Environment
Although play has been investigated from a variety of perspectives, the way in which the ch1ld in an urban setting interacts with the environment is relatively unexplored. The primary objective of the project was to determine the location and extent of use of provided play areas (parks, open spaces, playgrounds, etc.) utilized by a sample of urban elementary school children, and to compare these findings with the actual or observed locations of use. The results yielded a spatial image of children's play in the city and strongly suggest that a "hidden" structure does exist. That is, children do not place as much importance on structures provided by conventional agencies as they do on elements they create themselves. Further analysis in cognitive mapping indicated a spatial or sequential adaptation to the city, evidencing a maturity and a grasp of the intricacies offered by the urban environment.