The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 118


1 March 2007

Setting Children Free: Children's Independent Movement in the Local Environment

Parental concerns about children's safety and security are restricting children's independent exploration of the local environment. Children are being denied important opportunities to exercise, to acquire decision-making skills, such as crossing the road safely, and to develop social skills through interaction with their peers. This paper presents findings from the project CAPABLE (Children's Activities, Perceptions And Behaviour in the Local Environment) being carried out at University College London.

Based on findings from fieldwork carried out with children aged 8-11 in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, the paper shows the effect of factors such as the number of adults at home, having an older sibling, having a car or garden at home and living near to a park on the propensity to be allowed out alone. Then it considers how being allowed out alone affects the amount of time children spend outdoors, playing with friends and watching television. The paper then uses data from children who have been fitted with physical activity monitors and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) monitors and asked to keep diaries, to show how children's travel behaviour differs when they are with adults from when they are not.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 429KB.

Authors: Kay Kitazawa, Yi Gong, Roger Mackett, James Paskins, Belinda Brown

Publication Date: 1/3/2007

Download working paper No. 118.