IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Growing up in coastal towns: exploring the impact of place on young people’s life chances

This research project will explore young people's experiences of growing up in a coastal community.

The key aim of this project is to examine the ways in which growing up in a coastal town impacts on young people's experiences, aspirations, and life chances.

This project runs from June 2021 until March 2022.


Coastal towns have come to the fore in recent UK policy debates, as some of the most deprived neighbourhoods are now in coastal areas.

These debates often raise concerns about the future of young people in these towns, largely because of the limited educational and employment opportunities in these communities. 

Research questions

There is almost no research on the impact of growing up in coastal communities on young people and their future prospects. 

To address gaps in this field, this pilot project will explore the following questions:

  • Are there place-based inequalities between coastal towns and the rest of the UK, and how do these inequalities impact on the young people who grow up in coastal towns?
  • How are youth aspirations shaped by their experiences of growing up in a coastal town? In light of these experiences, what are the solutions they would propose to improve their coastal communities?
  • What data can we use/ generate to better understand these issues? 

This is mixed-method project that combines secondary data analysis of longitudinal data sets (e.g. the Millenium Cohort Study) with more exploratory qualitative data collection activities.

As part of the qualitative strand, we will be piloting various arts- and place-based methods, including walking interviews, life maps, photo elicitation and postcard making.

Research team

Principal Investigator 

Team members