SCHOOLYARDS’ DESIGN AND STUDENTS’ NEEDS FROM GENDER PERSPECTIVE: THE CASE OF PALESTINE
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This study focuses on the relationship between gender, students’ needs and the physical form of schoolyards. It investigates whether and how the needs of both male and female students influence the physical form of schoolyards in Palestine, as a Middle Eastern country. The aim is to develop a better theoretical understanding of the relationship between the students’ needs based on their gender, and the physical form of schoolyards. The study follows an environmental approach, which is based on the concept of behavioural setting, to analyse the physical form of schoolyards in relation to students' needs. For the validity of results, both quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative approaches (observations, interviews with planners, and school principals, mental maps drawn by students) are used. Different techniques, such as Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), ethnographic (cultural) techniques, photos and written notes are used. The study finds that the components of the physical form of schoolyards (design, use and rules) are influenced by gender, particularly the design components. There are differences between design, use and rules components of females’ schoolyards and males’ schoolyards. These differences are due to differences between needs of female and male students in schoolyards. Therefore, the study recommends that the components of schoolyards should support different needs of both male and female students.