#8 Place. Anthropology of space

Children’s everyday mobility: architecture, traffic and risk

Why the talk is inspiring?

Recent concerns regarding children and young people highlight their limited use of outdoor environments. In this presentation the speaker will present data from large scale ethnographic research (combined with GPS and mobile phone rolling survey) focusing on children’s everyday mobility in four new sustainable communities. Shared surface street design has been seen as an important feature in humanizing and democratization of the urban environment, however this presents particular challenges for children’s safety. Shared street surfaces encourage pedestrians and cyclists to have equal priority with vehicles, which is meant to foster a benign relationship between the motor-vehicle and the child human. The speaker will highlight the complexities for children’s safe mobility arising from such designs and discuss how children’s perceptions of spatial layout and traffic awareness are also based in culture and history.



Pia Christensen

How the speaker is exceptional?

Pia Christensen is a professor of Anthropology and Childhood Studies and the director of research at the Institute of Education. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research with children and young people in families, schools and local communities in Denmark and England. Her research includes innovative mixed-methods research into children’s mobility in the city. Her theoretical interests focus on how children’s agency is constituted in their everyday lives, and how concepts of life course can be applied to the study of children. Her main publications include Research with Children: Perspectives and Practices (second edition 2008) and Children in the City: home, neighbourhood and community (2003).


Children in the city. Home, neighbourhood and community

Pia Christensen, Margaret O`Brien

Why the book is worth reading?

This is a combined work concerning children’s lives in contemporary cities, bringing together international scholars at the forefront of the debate. It provides a forum for presenting and reflecting on new concepts and findings from recently completed research projects on children and urban space.