Playfinding: child-friendly wayfinding as a tool for children’s independent mobility in the Exchange District of Winnipeg, Manitoba
As children’s independent mobility in urban environments continues to decrease, children become further removed from all realms of city life. There is a need for children to practice and demonstrate their autonomy in public, and a properly planned and designed environment can support such skill building in urban settings. This practicum envisions wayfinding as a pivotal intervention in the urban environment to enable children’s independent mobility and environmental familiarity. The research focuses on the planning of a wayfinding strategy for Canadian school-age children (ages 8-10) as a way to encourage independent mobility in an urban context. This research is based on a review of children’s wayfinding psychology and planning strategies, inspiring design precedents, a detailed site audit and hands-on mental mapping exercises with children. The result is a set of research, consultation, planning, policy, and design recommendations to develop a child-friendly wayfinding strategy in the Exchange District neighbourhood of Downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Wayfinding, Children, Independent mobility, Signage, Mental maps, Urban planning, Urban design, City planning, Winnipeg, Downtown, Exchange District