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Children’s Urban Geographies and Child-Centered Approach: Review and Reflections

  • Journal of the Association of Korean Geographers
  • Abbr : JAKG
  • 2014, 3(2), pp.159-174
  • Publisher : Association of Korean Geographers
  • Research Area : Social Science > Geography

Jin-Kyu Jung 1

1University of Washington

ABSTRACT

Children’s Urban Geographies is a relatively young field in the discipline of geography that has had a particular attention on children, and how their experiences and opportunities of urban space are spatially and socially constructed. This paper is intended to review the importance of the theory and practice of children’s urban geographies, and to highlight a child-centered philosophy and its embodied practice. The child-centered approach recognizes children as knowledgeable and responsible ‘agents’ who can freely construct their own understandings of their everyday space in which they live, play, and learn. It transforms our conceptualization of children by illuminating the need to research ‘with’ rather than ‘on’ children. This paper is especially drawn from the reflections on my earlier encounters with this new scholarship in geography and 3 years working experience with participating children who lived in a multi-cultural Hispanic Lower-Westside neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. I first examine the evolution of children’s urban geographies, with a particular emphasis on three key themes: the geography of children, the social construction of children and childhood, and children’s agency. Then, I, cautiously but optimistically, prospect its far-reaching implications on planning and policy. Child-centered approach provides a new perspective to explore the evolving process of children’s situated and grounded experiential and interpretive spatial knowledge production.

Citation status

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