Children, Nature and Cities: Rethinking the Connections, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Children, Nature and Cities

Rethinking the Connections, 1st Edition

By Claire Freeman, Yolanda van Heezik


318 pages | 181 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138942554
pub: 2018-06-28
SAVE ~$28.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315673103
pub: 2018-06-14
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


That children need nature for health and well-being is widely accepted, but what type of nature? Specifically, what type of nature is not only necessary but realistically available in the complex and rapidly changing worlds that children currently live in?

This book examines child-nature definitions through two related concepts: the need for connecting to nature and the processes by which opportunities for such contact can be enhanced. It analyses the available nature from a scientific perspective of habitats, species and environments, together with the role of planning, to identify how children in cities can and do connect with nature. This book challenges the notion of a universal child and childhood by recognizing children’s diverse life worlds and experiences which guide them into different and complex ways of interacting with the natural world.

Unfortunately not all children have the freedom to access the nature that is present in the cities where they live. This book addresses the challenge of designing biodiverse cities in which nature is readily accessible to children.

Table of Contents

Part I Children and nature- approaches to nature 1. Conceptions of nature, contested definitions and approaches / What type of nature is needed and why? / The environmental/nature challenge; cities and children under stress / Defining and modelling nature relationships /Positive orientation /The case for natural urban childhoods 2. Children’s views and perspectives Listening to children: their views on the nature relationship / Accessing children’s views and perspectives: some methods / Children’s voice /Where do children encounter nature and influencing factors? /Where do children go and why? / Re-establishing nature accessPart II Understanding urban biodiversity in a changing environment 3. Wild nature, biodiversity, habitats and species / An ecological approach / Characteristics of urban habitats / Species occurrence and distributions /Modified landforms and their role in maintaining biodiversity / Characteristics of urban species – what makes them succeed or fail? /Challenges and responses to urban living / Buildings / Roads / Artificial illumination /Anthropogenic noise / Conclusions and future challenges 4. Human dimensions of urban ecosystems / Human impacts / Challenges and benefits of human interactions with urban wildlife/ Bird feeding / Wildlife gardening / Recreation / Valuing the urban / Optimal landscape design paradigms for ecosystems? / Integrating the ecological and human dimension 5. The changing city / The changing urban form / Industrialising and greying cityscapes / Planning for green space / The unplanned greenspace / Greening the living environment / What type of city will children inhabit? / Moving forward with the built environmentPart III Children and nature interactions 6. Children, families, nature and the home / Formative encounters / Families matter / Holidays / Animals / The home / Building more natural homes 7. Children, nature and health: the benefits of nature / Why health? / Conceptualising the nature-health relationship: biophobia to biophilia / The health benefits of nature / Children’s health and nature connection / Outdoor play / Familiar animals / Challenging environments / Accessing nature’s benefits 8. Culture and nature, different experiences, different ways of interacting / Socio-cultural contexts of nature / Different viewpoints / Nationhood, religious and cultural belief systems / Identity and belonging / Accessing nature for children with disabilities / Nature as threat / Nature contact a complex web 9. Mediated Nature / Different forms of contact/ Mediated nature: problem, asset or both? / Stories and poems / Books / Films and Television / Documentaries / Interactive media - computers and games / Going forward with media to engage with nature Part IV Creating connections, making it happen – biodiverse environments for all children 10. Redressing the balance in challenging urban environments: bringing nature back to where children live / Challenging environments / Deprivation: lack of nature vs lack of access to nature / The social dimension / Redressing the nature imbalance in challenging environments / Bringing nature into children’s lives 11. Working for and with children for more biodiverse cities / What do we need for a biodiverse, child-friendly city? / Planning for nature: the need for a coherent and coordinated strategy / Biodiversity initiatives / Creating more biodiverse city spaces / Biodiverse service spaces / Children as researchers and contributors to biodiversity knowledge / An assessment of progress 12. Towards better cities for children

About the Authors

Claire Freeman is Professor in Geography at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, where she teaches Master of Planning and Geography students. Her research is in environmental planning, where she works on planning with children, urban nature and community planning. She has previously worked at universities in South Africa and the UK and as a planner with the Urban Wildlife Trust, UK.

Yolanda van Heezik is Associate Professor in the Zoology Department at the University of Otago, where she teaches wildlife management and conservation biology. Her research has focused on the spatial ecology of urban wildlife, biodiversity of private gardens, residents’ attitudes, motivations and knowledge about biodiversity and penguin ecology. She has previously worked in The Netherlands, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

About the Series

Routledge Spaces of Childhood and Youth Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Children's Studies