1st Edition

Children, Nature and Cities Rethinking the Connections

By Claire Freeman, Yolanda van Heezik Copyright 2018
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages 181 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    Part 1: Children and nature- approaches to nature  1. Conceptions of nature, contested definitions and approaches  2. Children’s views and perspectives  Part 2: Understanding urban biodiversity in a changing environment  3. Wild nature, biodiversity, habitats and species  4. Human dimensions of urban ecosystems  5. The changing city  Part 3: Children and nature interactions  6. Children, families, nature and the home  7. Children, nature and health: the benefits of nature  8. Culture and nature, different experiences, different ways of interacting  9. Mediated Nature  Part 4: 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  11. Working for and with children for more biodiverse cities  12. Towards better cities for children


    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.