Category Archives: Community Development & Planning

Children as the Makers of a New Geography

We cannot rely upon the traditional approach of social science which observes children's live and reports it to policy makes in the hope that they will improve children's conditions. We need now  more radial social science research with children in which children themselves learn to reflect upon their own conditions, so that they can gradually … Continue Reading ››

Building better cities with children and youth

Although in Environment & Urbanization have focused on children, the last issue that dealt exclusively with children’s concerns came out in 1990. This focused primarily on urban children’s vulnerabilities to disease, acci- dents and early death as a result of their poor living environments. There has been depressingly … Continue Reading ››

The Neighborhood Atlas Project: An example of participatory action research in geography education

In this paper I present a model for participatory action research (PAR) in geography education with middle school teachers and students to learn about children’s perspectives of their community, and thus their knowledge of local geography. This PAR model was developed in an extra-curricular geography program in a New York City public middle … Continue Reading ››

Roger Hart on Colin Ward and Tony Fyson, in First Steps: A Primer on the Geographies of Children’s Youth

After completing a PhD on the geography of children in the mid 1970’s I was looking for a useful way to continue this work. A quietly radical couple of fellows housed in the education unit of the Town and Country Planning Association in London pointed me in the right direction - Colin Ward, anarchist and writer with experience in architecture and teaching, and … Continue Reading ››

Containing children: some lessons on planning for play from New York City

This paper relates the history of playground provision in New York to changing conceptions of childhood, and specifically to a felt need to ’contain’ children in order to keep them off the streets, safe from traffic and unsavoury influences – a trend that children have tended to resist. Playgrounds most … Continue Reading ››

An historical analysis of young people’s use of public space, parks and playgrounds in New York City

In this paper I present childhood biographies of three people who grew up in or near a public housing development located on the border between the contrasting communities of Yorkville and East Harlem in New York City. Stories of their middle childhood (ages 11-13) poignantly capture the social and spatial evolution of play … Continue Reading ››

Block politics

This paper explores how young people have experienced everyday life on ‘the block’ in a racially diverse lower to working class community in New York City over time, a concept that I refer to as block politics. Broadly defined, block politics refers to the process in which young people's territories are socially conceived, … Continue Reading ››

Everyone Counts: Dalit Children and Education

This report describes some Save the Children US programs in Siraha, Nepal, and their effectiveness in improving educational opportunities and success for children in excluded dalit (untouchable) caste groups. It looks at the advantages of supports targeted specifically at dalits, and compares them to more broadly targeted efforts to improve … Continue Reading ››

An alternative model for responding to children in poverty: the work of the Alliance in Mumbai and other cities

This paper describes the work of the NGO SPARC and its grass roots partners in Mumbai (together known as the Alliance), with particular reference to the implications of their work for children and child-focused organizations. Although the Alliance does not specifically target children, its efforts to find the most practical solutions to the problems of urban … Continue Reading ››