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Sense and Sensibilities: In Search of the Child-Friendly Hospital

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In this paper we explore children's and young people's views about the ambient aspects of hospital environments, drawing on data generated in an ESRC funded study, Space to Care. Participant observation and mapping of movements and activities within hospital spaces were undertaken alongside interviews with 255 children and young people aged between 4 and 16 years of age. Data collection took place in outpatients' departments and wards across three hospitals in northern and central England. Findings revealed children's and young people's concern about noise and the extent to which lighting in the bed area could be controlled. However, they did not express much concern about many issues which dominate the current (adult-centred) hospital design agenda. By contrast, they were very concerned about the age-associated characteristics of hospital spaces which are conveyed through design, finish and dcor. These findings demonstrate the importance of taking into account children's and young people's views about hospital environments if these aspects of the built environment are to aspire to being child friendly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 2, 2007

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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