ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Art and Architecture, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran.



- The characteristics mentioned by 8-year-old children as used in the wayfinding process include green space and the forms of buildings.
- The directional factors considered in the selection of signs in children’s wayfinding process include the colors and shapes of buildings, building forms, and shapes and architectures of buildings, and the performance of buildings has a direct impact on the choice of signs in wayfinding.
- The uniqueness of the sign, color, form, shape, and distinction have great impacts in the consideration of the signs and further completion of the wayfinding process.
- The guiding elements used in children’s wayfinding are different at different ages.
Spatial navigation is influenced by landmarks, which are prominent visual features of the environment. These cues are stored in memory as structures based on places in space, and help advance path knowledge. Spatial representation of landmarks is preferably coded according to their capability of navigation. Signs affect our ability to navigate a familiar or unfamiliar environment successfully. Sights are messages from the urban space. This is especially important for children, who do not usually have the independence and experience required to move in an urban environment. This research was conducted to investigate the effect of urban signs on children navigating the urban space in the Sajjad neighborhood of the city of Mashhad, Iran.
Theoretical Framework
Humans create images of cities in their minds according to their physiological and social characteristics, such as age, gender, social class, ethnicity, nationality, skills, and information received from the environment. These images turn into the basis for a person’s behavior toward the environment. Moving through space and navigating are essential aspects of space exploration. As part of the understanding and experience of the environment, routing involves spatial decision-making for arrival at the destination. Sights are a kind of message from urban spaces. People choose landmarks in the city for their routing. Humans navigate with information support by quickly observing and understanding signs, maps, and signals. Route knowledge includes the important sights in the environment. This study sought to investigate the effect of signs on children navigating urban spaces.
This applied research was a quantitative-qualitative survey with a sequential strategy. Data collection was based on a review of authoritative sources concerning the research topic, the indicators were extracted based on experts’ views, and the test was performed in a case study. Initially, twenty questionnaires were completed as a preliminary, randomized test and distributed among children. The population included 245 children aged 8-12 years, selected in the Sajjad neighborhood, given an accuracy of 95% and a confidence level of 0.05. Sample size was set to 150 children and then reduced to 106 due to the lack of cooperation of some children. Thus, 106 girls and boys in the age range of 8-12 years were randomly interviewed. The questionnaire was divided into two parts based on a five-point Likert scale. The variables in the theoretical framework of the research were tested in the questionnaire. Moreover, Cronbach’s alpha, obtained as 0.761 for the questionnaire, was used to assess validity and reliability, which indicates the desired coefficient of reliability and content validity of the questionnaire.
Upon completion of the questionnaire, the children were interviewed, and the meanings of the questions were fully explained to them. The data were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively in Amos using confirmatory factor analysis methods. A qualitative analysis was made of the children’s paintings, and overlay and graphic methods were used to summarize it. The main variables of the research included routing and signage, which were evaluated according to the theoretical framework of the research.
Results and Discussion
The results indicate that differences in children’s age groups cause differences in the effectiveness of signals in their wayfinding. Moreover, physical elements and signs in urban spaces are highly effective in their guidance through the study area. Among the features used by 8-year-old children in the wayfinding process, we can mention green spaces and the forms of buildings. Children aged 9-10 years pay attention to the physical forms and distinctions of buildings in the routing process. Children with 10-12 years of age refer to buildings with greater color variety and ones with more distinctive architectural forms than others. The results demonstrate that the uniqueness of the sign, color, form, shape, and distinction has a great effect in the process of considering the sign and the persistence of the wayfinding process. Therefore, given the priority of following the signs in children’s process of wayfinding in urban spaces, it can be pointed out that the physical, functional, and semantic manifestation of the signs also has a great impact in the process.
The role of signals in children of the examined age range was investigated according to the theoretical model of the research, along with the characteristics of signals in the environment. Initially, signs were paid greater attention by children, as extracted from the questionnaires and drawings. Among the signs mentioned by children in the Sajjad neighborhood were those of Laleh Street, Melli Bank, Jami Park, Pomegranate Juice Store, and Mina Park..
Children in the 10-12 age range use prominent commercial and residential buildings in wayfinding. Studies indicate the effect of a distinct body on children’s wayfinding behavior, given that signs are one of children’s navigation tools. It was found through the examination of the routing process as the main variable of the researchthat wayfinding is facilitated for children in the Sajjad neighborhood by the available signs and indicators. The analysis results of the effect of cues in children’s wayfinding process indicate that different guiding elements are used in the process at different ages. At the age of 8, children use paths and buildings to navigate. In the age groups of 11-12 and 9-10 years, they pay attention to the forms of roads and the shapes and functions of buildings, and turn in different directions at decision points during the wayfinding process. In the drawings, attention is paid to the ways and to the forms, shapes, functions, and colors of buildings. Therefore, children’s familiarity with the neighborhood has been observed in their wayfinding. The results indicate that there are relationships between wayfinding and environmental characteristics (physical and communication components of signals).


Main Subjects

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