Inclusion & Cohesion
Parks & Recreation

Ask Kids What They Think – Designing Better Playgrounds in the Netherlands

January 14, 2020
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Challenge: OBB Engineering was finding it difficult to gather feedback from people in different age groups.

Solution: With Maptionnaire, they are able to design questions for a specific target group consisting of people of different ages. They are able to understand how the wishes of different age groups differ, and how their views can be utilized when designing playgrounds and other public spaces.

Children are at work when they play. That’s why they should have the best possible surroundings and equipment to do their work. OBB Engineering — a consultancy in the Netherlands — concentrates on creating inspiring public spaces for youngsters where they can play, do sports, and hang out.

Increasing the opportunities for young people and contributing to their well-being is what drives the staff at OBB. The entire public space can serve as a playground – not just the places designed for that particular purpose. OBB works together with children and their parents to create fun spaces to play at. They also organize courses and advice on how similar spaces and places could and should look like. 

The challenge for OBB was that they were not able to clearly gather or communicate the wishes and opinions of people of different ages. They were also not able to combine the feedback they were getting and the specific location it was related to. OBB was looking for digital solution to their problems, and additionally a tool that would complement face-to-face communication.

Get Direct Feedback with Maptionnaire

OBB Engineering had heard that Maptionnaire had been used in a project by their local government, and that they had been excited about Maptionnaire’s online participation tool. Together they started to build their first questionnaire. After some additional training from Maptionnaire’s local partner in the Netherlands, they realized the full potential of the tool, and their enthusiasm grew even more. OBB started to wonder about the different possibilities of using Maptionnaire.

Check this article if you want to know more about Maptionnaire being used for planning child-friendly city and involving the youth in public participation processes.

Currently, OBB uses Maptionnaire in different stages of a policy-making and implementation process. Younger and older people have very different views on how public spaces are best utilized. With targeted questions to different age groups, they map how these groups use or how they would like to use public spaces and play areas.

What OBB also appreciates in Maptionnaire is that you can ask for detailed information on the things you’d like to know more about. By visualizing, for instance, a plan for a park, it’s easier to ask what people think of the plan instead of having them imagine it. By asking people directly, they get feedback that helps them in communicating the importance of such spaces and their development.

Gather More Feedback – Design Better Spaces

By using Maptionnaire, the people at OBB Engineering have been able to get more people involved in giving their feedback. As a result, they are able to plan better spaces. They have sparked discussions at public meetings and presentations by showing live results at the event via Maptionnaire. It’s important to understand that your neighbour might think differently than you and sharing results (in public) is a good way to demonstrate this.

If you’re finding it challenging to communicate to a large group of people about how public spaces should be used, try Maptionnaire.
Annemarieke de Kloet, Landscape Engineer at OBB Engineers

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