Engaging children in neighbourhood research and public space design

Authors: Karen Witten*, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, Penelope Carroll, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: children, participatory methods
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon C1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Kids in the City is a research programme investigating children’s use and experience of diverse urban neighbourhoods, from high rise apartment living to traditional suburban streets. Set in Auckland, New Zealand, the premise has been that, to take account of children’s wellbeing, a city needs to think beyond provision of parks, playgrounds and skate parks and embrace children’s presence city wide. A range of methods have been used to engage children to reveal what enables them to feel welcome (or not) in public spaces and to move safely and independently (or not) between home, school and other destinations. Methods have included neighbourhood walking interviews, photovoice, affinity group interviews and online mapping software. To reduce the social distance between child and interviewer, local young people were trained to conduct walking interviews in some neighbourhoods. The presentation will discuss why some approaches have been more successful than others. It will also present a case study of children’s participation in the co-design of a central city square – the methods used to give children voice in urban design and the post-design reflections of the children and urban designers on the process and outcomes of their involvement.

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