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Play, Urban Spaces and Children’s Capabilities: FA Pilot Study in the Neighbourhood of La Candelaria_Cartagena (Colombia)

Finished 2015, Published 2016

Autores: Greg Labrosse


Título: "Play, Urban Spaces and Children’s Capabilities: FA Pilot Study in the Neighbourhood of La Candelaria"


Año: Finalizado en 2015, publicado en 2016


Entidad: Master's degree in Development and Culture - Laboratorio de Investigación e Innovación en Cultura y Desarrollo. Cartagena: Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Cartagena (Colombia)


For many children in the urban developing world, a number of economic and ociocultural factors impact negatively on the physical and social environment where they grow up. Looking closely at the way children cope with the changing urban landscape can stimulate new ways of understanding the relationship between the built environment and human development.


In order to address this issue, we decided to conduct a pilot study with 86 children aged between 8 and 13 years in La Candelaria (Cartagena, Colombia), a low-income neighbourhood with less than 3% of public space dedicated to recreation. Many of these recreation spaces were built for the Central American and Caribbean Games which were held in Cartagena in 2006.

The local government decided to improve access to the city’s main stadium by building a roadway along the Ciénaga de la Virgen – a body of wàter which receives a large portion of Cartagena’s domestic waste. La Candelaria was established in the 1950s as an informal settlement and currently has approximately 13,000 residents.


Our study was centred on the following questions related to the children’s play:


- What play affordances does the urban environment offer children?

-  In what ways do children use and appropriate the spaces where they play?

-  What perceptions do they have of these spaces?


These questions refer to the physical, cultural and psychological factors that affect

the quality of children’s play. The term affordances refers to the functional possibilities that children perceive in the environment as they interact with it.


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