Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Living on a building site: young people's experiences of emerging 'sustainable communities' in England

Kraftl, P., Christensen, P., Horton, J. and Hadfield-Hill, S. (2013) Living on a building site: young people's experiences of emerging 'sustainable communities' in England. Geoforum. 50, pp. 191-199. 0016-7185.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: This paper examines experiences of young people (9–16) who live in new communities that are under construction. In the context of large-scale housing developments, built in England after 2000, it analyses various ways in which young people engage with life ‘on a building site’. From ethnographic research in three unfinished communities, several inter-linked themes became apparent: how young people engaged. This paper examines experiences of young people (9-16) who live in new communities that are under construction. In the context of large-scale housing developments, built in England after 2000, it analyses various ways in which young people engage with life ‘on a building site’. From ethnographic research in three unfinished communities, several inter-linked themes became apparent: how young people engaged with building sites in both aesthetic and material registers; how building sites could, paradoxically, constitute places for both safer play and of significant risk; how such sites could afford sociability whilst simultaneously representing foci for intergenerational tensions. Thus, the paper contributes to studies of architecture/urban design, geographical studies of childhood, and expands a recent call for critical geographies of construction sites. In particular, we argue for the significance of building sites as important, often-overlooked times and places where meaning-making and everyday routines are fostered and normalised in new communities.
Additional Information: This is a 'Gold' Open Access paper. Available here:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban design, childhood, youth, children's geographies, architecture, urban regeneration, materiality
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT101 Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology > HT206 Children in cities
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD72 Economic growth, development, planning > HD75.6 Environmental economics. Sustainable development
Creators: Kraftl, Peter, Christensen, P, Horton, John and Hadfield-Hill, Sophie
Funders or Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Grant Reference Number: RES-062-23-1549
Projects: New Urbanisms, New Citizens: Children and Young People’s Everyday Life in Sustainable Communities
Publisher: Elsevier
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)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > Education, Children and Young People
Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Environmental Science
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > Education, Children and Young People
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Health & Society > Applied Social Studies & Sociology
Date: 3 October 2013
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 191-199
Journal or Publication Title: Geoforum
Volume: 50
Language: English
ISSN: 0016-7185
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
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