Lotta Pulkkinen (She/her)
Grounds for play
Glasgow has the highest poverty rate among the local authorities in Scotland, with almost half of its residents living in deprived areas. Altogether 36 104 (34%) children live in relative poverty in Glasgow. Growing up in poverty causes detrimental health, social and economic outcomes. It harms physical and mental health as well as educational and social development. Having access to good quality green spaces is not given to those living in deprived urban areas. Integrating nature and good quality green spaces in the built urban environment could play a significant role when fighting against the systems of inequity. People of all ages should be able to access public spaces that support health, learning and growth.
Urban nature improves public health and reduces health inequalities. The natural environment provides cleaner air and encourages certain healthier behaviours. Connecting with nature is essential for people’s physical and mental health, positively influencing emotional and social well-being. It increases physical activity reducing the risk of diseases linked to overweight and obesity. The natural environment supports mental health by interrupting thought patterns leading to anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Playing in nature improves children’s immune systems significantly and is beneficial for the development of children. It supports their learning capacity through participation and hands-on exploration. Playing is an intuitive way to explore the boundaries of reality. It is part of cognitive development, improving critical thinking and engaging problem-solving skills. The natural environment provides unstructured opportunities for play.
This design thesis investigates how to reduce poverty’s consequences, especially for children. It explores the interaction between the built environment, accessible green spaces and a child-friendly urban environment. It focuses on the Canal Ward council area in Glasgow, which suffers from high poverty and food insecurity. The master plan proposes a set of public buildings that support and engage the community in a Hamiltonhill residential area. It investigates the possibility of transforming vacant urban land areas into local and communal food production land to prevent and reduce nutritional poverty.