Children's spatial behavior in Al-Rawdah housing development in Amman, Jordan



This paper presents an empirical study of children's outdoor spatial behavior in the Al-Rawdah multi-family housing development built in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Research methods incorporate a variety of interactive methodologies ranging from systematic observation and behavioral mapping of a range of the children's behavior in outdoor places to in depth interviews. Observational categories include information on users (age, sex, companionship, size of group, etc.), on settings where behavior was observed (type of outdoor space), and on the types of behavior observed including physical, social, and cognitive play. The study covers a broad range of developmental concerns including children's cognitive mapping of the macro-outdoor environment and children's play behavior and social interaction in specified and unspecified play settings. Field survey of children's spatial behavior in Al-Rawdah housing development has supported early research findings and shown that not only was the amount of space important in prompting the type of play and outdoor activities observed in school-age children, but also the scarcity or abundance of social interaction opportunities within that space. The findings illustrate the complex interaction of physical and social factors in determining how communal outdoor areas in multi-family housing projects are used and perceived. The conclusion emphasize that housing design must be understood in the context of users needs and behavioral attitudes in outdoor areas. However, it should not be stereotyped. Cultural norms, lifestyles and the socio-economic system of users affect how individuals, especially children, use communal outdoor spaces in the residential setting. The effects of physical environmental variables can only by understood when studied in interaction with social environmental variables. The results are supportive of the interaction theory of environment-behavior relations