Children's cognitive perception of their neighborhood : reading the cognitive maps of children from Al-Wihdat Palestinian Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan

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University of Akron
In urban spaces, children constitute a major segment of those growing up there, and children illustrate their ideas on the cities they live in, how they perceive their neighborhoods as users of the urban environment. Their drawings can be seen as and interpreted as cognitive maps, and can serve as an important source for today's urban designers, architects, educators, and government officials. The cognitive maps of children are not only some visual productions but are also imbued with the realties and objects of everyday life, like an organically designed textile. There is a relative lack of studies on the children's relationship with their particular urban space and its range of elements. This study seeks in part to address that knowledge gap. Although reading cognitive drawings is, in fact, a psychological subject, as they contain cognitive perception of the space they engage with and are related to the external world, they are particularly of interest for the planners and designers creating and seeking to change and better that environment. Based on what the drawings display, what needs that human-focused urban design suggests as reflected in children's cognitie mapping will be interpreted in the scope of this study. The material for this research has been extracted from my 2004 doctoral dissertation and constitutes one of a series of four related papers in progress discussing children's outdoor environment using four different methodological approaches. This paper investigates and seeks to interpret the drawings of their environment by a selected number of students 10-14 years old from Al-Whidat Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, their cognitive perception of that living environment and the unhealthy chaotic aspects of the city. © 2018 Geo Publishing, Toronto Canada.
This article is not available at CUD collection. The version of scholarly record of this Article is published in Arab World Geographer (2018), available online at:
Children's drawings, Cognitive maps, Cognitive perception, Growing up in city, Cognition, Map, Neighborhood, Perception, Urban area, Urban design, Amman, Jordan
Al-Khalaileh, E. (2018). Children’s cognitive perception of their neighborhood: Reading the cognitive maps of children from Al-Wihdat Palestinian Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan. Arab World Geographer, 21(4), 279–298.