Urban Childhood: Everyday Life of Children in a Modern Suburb

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Children's conditions in urban environments are an important theme for understanding modern childhood, yet children have rarely been asked about their views of urban childhood conditions. The aim of the dissertation is:

To describe the experts' attempts to create good conditions for growing up in an urban environment. This is summed up as "perspectives thought out for the children".

To investigate, describe, and analyse the physical and socio-cultural environment from the children's perspective in a modern suburb. The study is limited to children aged 9-10 and their everyday life outside school and the recreation centre.

To test different qualitative methods for gaining insight into children's perspectives on their immediate environment and everyday life in a modern suburb.

The empirical study comprises 28 children living in a suburb built in the 1970s with about 11,000 inhabitants, in the south of Sweden. The study was carried out as a case study using compositions, diaries, drawings, photographs (taken by the children), individual interviews, walks through the area together with children, and group interviews - with the author present at all stages. The experience of using several different methods is predominantly positive for obtaining reliable knowledge through children.

From the children's way of describing and showing how they see and take advantage of affordances in the housing area, it is clear that there is agreement between the "perspectives thought out for the children" and the children's own perspectives as regards the planning of the area with regard to the children's needs for service, physical security, and opportunities for play. There are large individual differences between children as regards patterns of movement, activities, and experiences. On the other hand, there are no palpable differences between boys and girls in these respects. Both negative and positive views of the physical and the social environment are represented. There are both dangers and security-creating factors in the neighbourhood.

Children participate to a large extent in creating their own living spaces, both individually and collectively. They use the physical and social environment in their meaning creation, their identity development, their striving for competence, and their processing of experience.
Translated title of the contributionUrban Childhood: Everyday Life of Children in a Modern Suburb
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Social Work
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 May 29
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1998-05-29
Time: 10:15
Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Haavind, Hanne
Title: Professor
Affiliation: [unknown]


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work


  • neighbourhood
  • adult perspectives of the best interest of the child
  • qualitative methods
  • child´s perspective
  • developmental task
  • middle childhood
  • Urban childhood
  • Sociology
  • Sociologi


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