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University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City

About the speaker

Dr. To Thanh PHUONG is a researcher in Architecture and a lecturer at the Department of Architecture, University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City.
She holds a Master degree in Urban Design (at Kanazawa University, Japan) and a PhD in Human-Nature-Connection and Biophilic Design in Architecture (at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) sponsored by the Vietnamese Government.
Her research contributions aim to support design decision-making for a more balanced relationship between built and natural environments for sustainable development. Her research interests include multidiscipline approaches to investigate the influence of landscape and architectural design on human health and well-being.

Paper Abstract

A study on children’s spatial─social─natural interactions within primary school: Design approaches for Case studies in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A growing body of global, evidence-based, research confirms the health, wellness, and academic benefits of childhood exposure to nature. This work explores the feasibility of designing landscape and architectural interventions within primary schools to enhance children’s daily multi-sensorial natural experiences. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, schools have been negatively impacted by issues related to large-scale urban development and by climatic changes. The environmental qualities (both built and natural) have beendiminished, and urban pupils are losing their connections with nature in all temporal and spatial dimensions. There is therefore an urgent need to investigate primary school architecture in HCMC in order to provide children with improved educational environments that can provide opportunities for reconnecting them with nature, and to support pro-environmental behaviours. Responding to this, we have developed a research framework with three primary schools in HCMC,as case studies to investigate how various school settings influence child-nature connection when comprehensively considering how children discover and interact with nature within study and play environments. The study involves observation of children’s interactional behaviours while they are directly experiencing nature. The method has been adopted to examine spatial, psychological, and behavioural dimensions of exposure to nature within educational settings. Results indicate that children’s natural experiences diverge from spatial and natural characteristics in different settings and contexts. Findings offer insights for decisionmakers to (re-)create better-suited spaces, with more natural enrichment, to provide an enhanced, diverse, and equitable access to nature for all pupils in their daily activities at schools.

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