Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

The Effect of Autonomy in the Built Environment on the Visual and Spatial Thinking Skills of Urban Children: A Case for Changes in Classroom Practice

Dr Claire B Gallagher.

Urban children are mainly autonomous in their environment and have a visceral connection with what surrounds them. The effects of this have been shown to be profound in terms of their visual acuity and visual and spatial thinking skills. This has been observed through the use of a simple three dimensional urban design exercise which was given to a group of 8 and 9 year old urban children to solve. When given an identical three dimensional urban design problem, their suburban counterparts did not exhibit such characteristics. Both product and process were observed and recorded and compared in both populations. The purpose of this presentation, and paper, is to present and discuss the differences in the work of the urban and suburban children, to suggest changes classroom practice with urban children vis-a-vis ramifications indicated by this study.


Dr Claire B Gallagher  (United States)
Associate Professor
School of Education
Georgian Court University

Dr. Claire B. Gallagher is an architect and educator who has spent her career encouraging built environment awareness in children and adults. She has written numerous articles and curricula and has received a number of awards for her work.

  • Visual Thinking
  • Spatial Thinking
  • Urban children
  • Autonomy

(Virtual Presentation, English)