Design Opportunities for Children-nature interaction design

DURATION 2022.05-2023.09
ROLE Ideation, Research Plan, Data Collection & Analysis, Manuscript Writing Process
COLLABORATORS DESIS researchers, Prof. Joon Sang Baek
SUBJECTS Generation Alpha, Parents

Background. Concerns are rising about the extinction of nature experiences for future generations, making their understanding and connection to nature increasingly important. This study aimed to explore the perceptions and feelings of Generation Alpha towards nature to identify design opportunities for fostering a stronger nature connection.

Research Questions. How does Generation Alpha perceive and feel about nature? What are the challenges Generation Alpha faces regarding nature experiences? What design opportunities exist to improve Generation Alpha’s sense of connection with nature?

Research Methods. A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with 47 Generation Alpha children and 15 parents residing in Seoul and Incheon. This research explored the nature connection experienced by Generation Alpha.

Key Insights. The study revealed a discrepancy in perceptions of nature connection between Generation Alpha and their parents. Additionally, Generation Alpha’s experiences with nature were limited, negative, and often anthropocentric (human-centered). These factors were identified as obstacles to fostering a strong connection with nature in these children.

Suggestions. To address these issues, the study proposes several design opportunities. First, integrated nature experiences that incorporate direct, virtual, and surrogate interactions with nature should be provided. Second, nature information should be designed to gradually engage children based on their existing attitudes towards nature. Finally, the study suggests using speculative design to encourage critical thinking about information related to the natural world.

Impact. This study proposes a framework for fostering a stronger sense of nature connection in Generation Alpha, drawing upon nature connection and design. This research contributes to the field of human-nature interaction design.