Grow, Thrive, Be: Building Healthy Communities and Preserving Culture through Designing Children's Outdoor Play
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New Zealand is a unique island nation with a history of European colonization overlaying earlier Polynesian settlement which results in unprecedented cultural challenges and opportunities. Confronting issues of urbanization, and more specifically questions surrounding city rebuilding following the devastating February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, the questions of how design can support and facilitate development of healthy communities make the study of New Zealand particularly relevant with regard to design fields and professions. This study looks at the influence and relevance of children's outdoor play environments in Maori language immersion early childhood education (ECE) centers as they contribute towards larger-scale community health, well-being and development. In addition, this study is an in-depth exploration of how particular outdoor play environments may function as approaches for cultural preservation within Maori communities. As an explorative study, my main objective is to understand how the design of a Maori immersion early childhood education (ECE) play environment can contribute towards building a healthy community.