This research aimed to determine: (1) key design factors, functions, constraints and programme requirements for designing the public spaces of children’s hospitals in an age-appropriate way to promote healing; (2) how context-specific issues relating to Palestine play a role in determining the key design factors.
In Palestine, qualitative data were collected during nine co-design and co-creation workshops that included arts-based activities and semi-structured interviews. Participants included children from 3-18 years, parents, doctors, nurses, reception and admissions staff, and four groups of designers. All participants, excluding the designers, participated in drawing and modeling activities. The use of drawings with children is an indispensable tool because their verbal expression is often not highly developed, and because preferences and ideas can be expressed more intuitively. Similarly, models can be effective tools because children can express ideas and preferences about form, materials and size through them in a way that words alone cannot describe.
This study uses a thematic analysis approach to analysing qualitative data. The results of data analysis were sorted into main themes and sub-themes. The key findings of this study are: context-specific issues; physical environments: interior architecture and interior design – medical spaces; non-medical spaces interior design elements, and environmental considerations. These findings will inform guidelines and recommendations and will be supported by visual models for the design of children’s hospitals, particularly public spaces in the particular context of Palestine. The guidelines will contribute to the creation of supportive healing environments for all stakeholders, but particularly for children.