A Scoping Review of the Impact on Children of the Built Environment Design Characteristics of Healing Spaces

HERD. 2020 Oct;13(4):98-114. doi: 10.1177/1937586720903845. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Aim: This article elucidates current understanding in pediatric healthcare building design via scoping review of research on the impacts on the health and well-being of children of the architectural and landscape characteristics of healing spaces.

Background: Studies indicate that patients' phenomenological experiences of the built environment characteristics of healthcare buildings can impact their healing and well-being. It follows that understanding the healing effects of landscape and architecture can inform the design of healthcare settings for increased health benefits.

Method: This method comprises five search stages: (1) research question is formed; (2) key words, search terms, and search strategy are identified; (3) databases are searched, and papers are assessed via inclusion and exclusion criteria; (4) information of the selected articles is extracted and summarized; and (5) key findings are interpreted and reported via comparative tabulation.

Results: One hundred seventy-three papers were found during the first search stage. After screening and evaluating for relevance and quality, 13 articles were selected for study. Analysis indicates that the built environment characteristics of pediatric healthcare environments that have healing benefits include access to nature, music, art and natural light, reduced crowding, reduced noise, and soft, cyclical, and user-controlled artificial lighting.

Conclusions: While it is important to understand the design variables that influence pediatric healthcare, it is also necessary to contextualize them and to distinguish these variables from each other and appreciate their interaction. In other words, a more rounded understanding of these variables is required via research so that their individual and combined impacts are reflected in holistic design recommendations.

Keywords: architecture; children; design; healing spaces; healthcare; landscape.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Built Environment / standards
  • Child
  • Child Health* / standards
  • Environment Design*
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Health Facilities
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings