PolyU: Over a thousand children participate in an inclusive design research project of a country park, as part of the PolyU School of Design’s research on children and public design

The Public Design Lab of the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launched an inclusive design research project (the Project) named “Playful Public Design by Children” in 2019. Using the real-life setting of Shing Mum Country Park, the Project engaged a group of kid art educators and over a thousand children together with their parents to study the inclusive design of country parks.

The Project is a critical breakthrough in research collaboration between a university design research lab and a creative learning studio. It not only enabled the Public Design Lab’s researchers and designers to explore children’s participation in public design, but also facilitated CreativeKids’ design facilitators and researchers to collect data on children’s observations, concerns, ideas and solutions. The Project furthermore provided valuable references for researchers and art education practitioners to carry out public design research both with and for young children.

The Public Design Lab will present the Exhibition of “Playful Public Design by Children”, showcasing the creative design and thinking process of the participants with augmented reality and project videos. The Exhibition is currently open until 31 December 2021 in Gallery A, Podium Level, Jockey Club Innovation Tower, PolyU.

Officiating guests attending the opening event held earlier included: Mr Eric Yim, Chairman of the Industry Advisory Committee at PolyU’s School of Design; Professor Michael SIU, Chair Professor of Public Design at PolyU’s School of Design; Dr LEUNG Siu-fai, Director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department; Ms Winnie HO Wing-yin, Director of the Architectural Services Department; and Dr Angelina LO, Founder Director of CreativeKids. The children and their parents who participated in the Project also shared their design ideas at the event.

In recognition of its impact and creativeness, “Playful Public Design by Children” was selected by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) to represent Hong Kong in the Golden Cubes Award 2020 (international level) organised by the International Union of Architects (UIA).

Launched in March 2019, the Project “Playful Public Design by Children” was co-led by the Public Design Lab of PolyU’s School of Design and CreativeKids, a local art design education studio for children and youth. A total of 1,023 children and their parents participated in the Project, which lasted for over a year. According to the development capabilities and interests of the participants, a number of playful design projects were designed for four age groups: (1) Signage design for prohibiting monkey feeding for children aged between 3.5 to 5.5; (2) Whirly facilities design, playful tools design and butterflies study for those aged between 5.5 to 8; (3) Gazebos design, tree-based outdoor space design and treehouse and observation towers design for those aged between 8 and 12; (4) self-directed design and recycling bins design workshop for teenagers aged between 12 and 18.

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