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Microsoft word - kearns walkingconferenceabstract.doc
Research on children and parents' perceoptions of neigbourhood walkability
Windows into walkability: Using photovoice to understand the complexities of walking in Auckland
Workshop / Walkshop
Windows into walkability: Using photovoice to understand the complexities of walking in Auckland.
Robin Kearns, Hector Kaiwai, Victoria Jensen
Decisions as to where and when to walk within neighbourhoods for transport and recreation are shaped by a complex of characteristics located within the individual and her/his household as well as the local environment. While aspects of the built environment (eg street connectivity, land use mix, dwelling density) and streetscape attributes (eg aesthetics, traffic volume and speed, footpath access and quality) purportedly help explain why some settings are more walkable than others, we contend that: (a) it is too easy to assume what walkability means to people who differ in terms of locality, age and socio-economic status; and (b) the spoken word is not necessarily the only and best route to understand perceptions about, and the practice of, walking itself.
This paper discusses a part of the URBAN project in which we are addressing such complexity through the use of
photovoice , a research approach pioneered in community health development to provide a window into the worlds
of marginalised groups. We draw on late 2007 experience using photovoice with both adults and children across 6 neighbourhoods in Waitakere and North Shore cities. We illustrate, through use of photos and subsequent focus group narratives, that positionality matters in understanding the propensity to walk. Indeed, the affective bonds between people and place and trust on the part of parents in their children s competence and safety are key considerations that complement urban design issues like access to facilities/ resources in promoting and maintaining walkable neighbourhoods.
Robin Kearns, is Professor of Geography at the University of Auckland and has broad interests in social and
cultural aspects of urban life. He has researched a range of aspects of school travel behavour and children's
perspectives of neighbourhoods. He has been involved in assessing the benefits and sustainability of walking
school buses since their development in Auckland
Hector Kaiwai (Ngati Porou/Ngati Maniapoto/Tuhoe) is a researcher and evaluator. He has a Masters degree and skills in qualitative research methodologies and evaluation. His main research work has been in the areas of alcohol marketing, social marketing, positive youth development, Participatory Action Research (PAR) and more recently, gambling and fire safety.
Victoria Jensen BA/LLB (Samoan) is an experienced evaluator. She has worked with Pacific, Maori and non-Maori groups and has particular experience with youth issues. She has recently completed her thesis for a Masters in Public Health, examining the often fraught experiences of young Samoan women within their families.
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