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potential and of its corollary, risk, in an environment is not simply a matter of the state of the physical aspects of the environment but is rooted strongly in the human dimension, the ways in which shopkeepers, park staff and other adults and youth respect and relate to children, providing child-friendly and social contexts for them, and the ways in which they subvert these. Children’s active engagement out in their locality was exhibited in Freeman’s (2010; Freeman and Tranter 2011) study based in Dunedin, New Zealand. This linked with their attachment to their neighbourhood, which had a strong social relationships focus. Children who had ready and direct access to the neighbourhood and wider area, as in Ba’s (2009) study, developed their sense of place through personal exploration and social interaction, giving rise to sensing their experienced places as both physical and social entities, a finding similar to that of Cele’s studies in England and Sweden (2006). Pike (2008) argues that from this experience in their everyday places younger children develop effective spatial and place knowledge of their everyday environments along with understanding of the processes which shape their places. O’Brien (2003) noted London-based younger children’s environmental concerns and interest in place improvement, their clear sense of neighbourhood quality. Their capacity to ‘reconstruct’ less pleasant parts of the environment, such as stairwells, into ‘bases’ did not deter them from clearly expressing their desire that those responsible for the quality and cleanliness of the local area, including its buildings, had a responsibility to undertake this effectively and consistently. Similar views were expressed by children who participated in research with Al-Khalaileh (2008) into their everyday environment in Amman, Jordan, where they argued that environmental improvements included not only collecting the litter and cleaning the streets but also improving the street environment through tree planting, reducing traffic congestion and noise, and tackling crime levels, another source of risk. These world-wide examples illustrate that through their movement about and exploration of their environments children not only develop familiarity with places and learn their way around them, but they build an evident sense of the state of the environment, realise and make use of the opportunities that social responses afford, ‘subvert’ it for their own interests and ends, have a clear appreciation of the risks inherent in the ‘real world’ and develop views about how adults should undertake their responsibilities to places and the people who live there. Younger children are able to propose ways in which places can be improved and sustained, and they do not exempt themselves from such involvement to make a difference (Alexander and Hargreaves 2007). Children come across as informed, engaged and interested in both their own futures and those of others. They know about their places. This is knowledge and

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