Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran


Background and Objective: Interdisciplinary scientific perspectives define learning as part of the individual’s process of shaping physiology, morphology and behavior within the boundary of organism’s biological nature, to adjust the environment, which in premodren childhood occurs through play, exploration and participation in socially meaningful contexts over an extended period of immaturity. This type of learning has become subordinate to the official schooling these days.
In the past, children spent most of their free time outdoors; this time was spent on activities in informal spaces, without control and in other words, unstructured. These spaces in ancestral life (before the advent of agriculture and settling down) were of ancestral nature and then the neighborhood environment, that were an important place for children to play throughout history and around the world. However, children today spend most of their free time indoors, and most of their outdoor time on scheduled and structured activities. This routine has led to physical and emotional problems such as body imbalance, type 2 diabetes, obesity and a sense of loneliness. The development of brain neural system occurs in the early years of childhood through movement and stimulation, indicating the importance of children's experiences, activities, and daily interactions for their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of children's natural learning opportunities in environments with varying degrees of urbanization.
Methods: By means of Gibson’s affordances concept, using the affordance taxonomy of Heft-Kytta  on 10–12-year-old children in metropolitan, urban, semi-urban/rural and rural communities, through questionnaires and Analysis of variance in 2018.
Findings: Significant differences were observed among the communities in affordance availability, in the level of affordances actualization, in the distribution of affordances within the categories of the taxonomy, and also the location of the affordances, whether they were at home, in the yard, in immediate surroundings or elsewhere.
Children's natural and everyday learning occurs through environmental provision. In the environments of human’s past history, children had a great deal of freedom to use existing natural elements and features, while intertwined in the daily social and work relationships of their neighborhood. However, in today's urbanized environments, both children's freedom has diminished, and those elements and natural features have become inaccessible (or, in other words, carefully removed from everyday life), and the environment of social and work interactions has distanced them from their place of residence. The results of this study testified to the severity of these three events, especially in metropolitan areas. This decrease was especially evident for exercise equipment, detachable hand objects, slippery, climbing, hanging, and height-changing features. Based on the findings and their interpretations, it is suggested that children have adequate access to messy spaces, various spatial fixed and loose elements, to have learning chances.


Main Subjects

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