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The Pavement and the Hospital Bed: Care Environments as Part of Everyday Life

  • Tutenel, Piet; 77211;
  • Ramaekers, Stefan; 4310;
  • Heylighen, Ann; 11081;
Publication Date
Jul 06, 2022
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We start this invited perspective with two excerpts. The first is an advertisement for A+, a Belgian architecture journal, which devoted an issue to architecture for children to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The second comes from the website of a Dutch architecture firm (LIAG) describing their acclaimed design of the Princess Máxima Pediatric Oncology Centre in Utrecht, Netherlands. For people engaging in design (research), these ordinary excerpts will not sound uncommon, and apart from the understandingly somewhat commercial tone, nothing written in them seems worrisome. The same may be true for people outside of design as they will not oppose the general idea that spaces for children or pediatric oncology wards are designed with young people’s well-being and development in mind. Yet, as argued in this essay, contemporary discourse of children’s spaces seems to be divided into two separate domains: on the one hand, everyday life and on the other hand, care environments, where children are seen as vulnerable and passive with an emphasis on a positivist approach to research. Our reflection on this distinction is rooted in lessons learned from a research project that fused empirical and theoretical work in a transdisciplinary way to explore how children affected by cancer actively use the hospital environment and emphasizes their agency in being space makers and everyday designers. / status: Published online

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