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Research – Children, nature and urban centres

Posted in Research by fedwards on July 15th, 2008

Please find an abstract below and some attached information from the recent “Making Cities Livable” conference, Santa Fe. The documents cover issues about children and nature in urban centres by Professor Louise Chawla and Selena R. Paulsen. If you would like more information contact Louise at louise.chawla

Abstract: Paper for International Making Cities Livable Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 1-5, 2008
Restoring Children’s Access to Nature in Urban Environments
Louise Chawla and Selena R. Paulsen
Children, Nature and Cities

In his book Last Child in the Woods, the journalist Richard Louv (2005) described a radical change in the pattern of children’s lives that has occurred in the space of one generation. Baby boomer parents and grandparents typically remember having free run of their neighborhoods by the time they reached middle childhood, but too often, their children and grandchildren live under conditions that Louv calls virtual house arrest: confined to their homes by real or imagined dangers beyond the front door, dependent on their parents to drive them to structured activities and play dates, entertained by experiences that come to them second hand on TV sets and computer screens. This loss of physical activity outdoors is associated with a rising rate of childhood obesity: more than 17 percent of 2 to 19-year-olds were overweight or obese in 2003-2004, up from 5 percent in 1971-1974 (Ogden et al., 2006). Being overweight in childhood increases risks of low self-concept, depression, diabetes, hypertension, and high LDL cholesterol, among other negative consequences, and overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults. What especially concerns Louv, however, is children’s loss of freedom to explore the natural world, find special places in it, and feel at home in this larger universe that sustains and transcends us.



One Response to “Research – Children, nature and urban centres”

  1. Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard Says:

    July 27th, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Please note, the link from “Making Cities Livable” should go to the program for the 46th International Making Cities Livable Conference, Santa Fe, NM, June 1-5, 2009, at: (not to the 20th IMCL Conference that took place in 1997). Please correct. Thank you.