Children's Perspectives of an Urban River Corridor: A Study of the Jordan River, Salt Lake City, Utah

Authors: Taya Carothers*, Utah State University, Mark Brunson, Utah State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: environmental justice, urban rivers, community-based research, children's geographies
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Salt Lake City's Jordan River runs through the city's west side, with historically segregated, majority Latinx neighborhoods. The river is highly degraded with water quality problems and limited environmental function. Using a community-engaged research approach, this poster demonstrates findings from research collaboration with a local elementary school that highlights children's simultaneously positive and negative views of the river. We analyzed children's drawings, writing, and interview responses. Participants in our research range from age 9-11 and represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. Our research reveals that children in this neighborhood view the river positively as a place for peace and relaxation, as a home for animals, and a place to engage in many activities. Children were also highly concerned about several problems including water quality, smell, and litter along the corridor. The river is important in their neighborhood, but it is unclear if children view the river as important to community identity or feel highly connected to it themselves. Children were active participants in our study and revealed a lot of opinions and knowledge about their local environment in this urban multicultural community.

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