Barn och natur i storstaden: En studie av barns förhållande till naturområden i hemmets närhet – med exempel från Stockholm och Göteborg
Children and nearby nature. A study of children’s relationship to nature areas close to home – with examples from Stockholm and Göteborg. CHOROS 2009:1. Department of Human and Economic Geography, Göteborg University. The opportunities for children to spend time indoors have increased with larger houses and with a growing supply of electronic media. At the same time it seems that children’s independent mobility has become more and more restricted. There has therefore been growing concern that children spend too much time indoors instead of being outdoors in green areas. With a distinct segregation in larger cities in Sweden, the question also arises as to whether or not there are differences in the outdoor life between different groups. The main purpose of this licentiate thesis is to look into urban children’s relationship to nearby nature. The reason for this is the notion that modern society, for various reasons, hinders children’s possibilities to spend time in green areas. The research investigates the following three questions: (i) To what extent do urban children spend time in nearby nature, and what do they do there? (ii) What social and physical factors encourage or hinder children from spending time in urban nearby nature? (iii) What does the nature in the vicinity mean for children – what emotions and thoughts do green areas evoke? The theoretical approach is derived from time geography, with a focus on concepts such as mobility, time-use and constraints. There is also a particular focus on the influence of socioeconomic and cultural background on outdoor recreation. The children in the study sample live in two residential areas with quite different profiles regarding the socioeconomic situation and cultural background of the inhabitants. About forty ten-year-old children and their parents and teachers are included in this study. The main method for collecting data is group interviews. Additional methods such as activity journals, observations and surveys have also been performed. The children spend time in nearby nature; building huts, playing and during school. The children who are better off, primarily Swedish, have a closer relationship to nearby nature, than the children living the residential area where a large proportion has a foreign background. A middle class culture which values keeping children busy and active is found to partly explain these differences. It was found that in some cases, children who spent less time in nearby nature tended to feel more insecure when they were outdoors. Another observation is that children who play in green areas strongly oppose the idea of building developments being carried in those areas.
Choros - Department of Human and Economic Geography