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The politics of 'being young' in new sustainable communities

Hadfield-Hill, S. and Christensen, P. (2012) The politics of 'being young' in new sustainable communities. Paper presented to: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, New York, 24–28 February 2012. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: The present UK policy climate promotes the idea of greater participation in local decision making and politics. For example, the 'Sustainable Communities' agenda encourages 'effective engagement and participation by local people, groups and businesses [to foster] long term stewardship in their community' (Sustainable Communities, 2003: 5). The government's 'Big Society' framework advocates that local communities take action to 'create neighbourhoods that are strong, attractive and thriving' (Communities and Local Government, 2011). But what role do young people have? What are the ramifications of local politics on children and young people? The data presented in this paper is drawn from a large scale, ethnographic, research project conducted in two 'sustainable communities' in Northamptonshire. One hundred and twenty three children and young people (aged 9-16) were involved in the study including discussions concerning citizenship and their participation in their local communities. We show that children and young people hold significant knowledge about their local environments and its inhabitants. Children and young people's particular use of outdoor space produces this distinct local knowledge, arguably absent from adults understanding of community. However, this is seldom drawn upon in community engagement processes and can be seen as an unused knowledge capital. Young people's sense of belonging and citizenship to their community (having a voice and being included in local forums) will be juxtaposed to their experience of exclusion from local decision making and particular parts of the built environment. In sum, we explore the multiple politics of 'being young' within new sustainable communities.
Uncontrolled Keywords: participation, sustainable communites, young people
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT51 Human settlements. Communities
Creators: Hadfield-Hill, Sophie and Christensen, P
Funders or Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Grant Reference Number: RES-062-23-1549
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > The Centre for Children and Youth
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: February 2012
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting
Event Dates: 24–28 February 2012
Event Location: New York
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished

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