chapter  15
12 Pages

Improving public spaces for young people: the contribution of participatory research

In recent years there has been a revisiting of the meaning of ‘person-in-environment’ within social and community work. An argument has been made for greater recognition of the spatial environment, and within this ‘place’, as a focus for practice (Kemp, 2011; McKinnon, 2008). Zapf ’s notion of living ‘well in place’ (2009, p. 194) provides a useful starting point for considering how the places and spaces within which people live support and promote wellbeing. Many relationships and community connections are rooted ‘in place’ (Zapf, 2009, p. 75 citing Chaskin, 1997, p. 522; Jack, 2010), and processes of exclusion and marginalisation are often produced and reproduced spatially (Sibley, 1995; Smith and Low, 2006). Social theory has tended to privilege considerations of time, and change over time, with space generally assumed to be simply a venue for living (Fairbanks II, 2003).