Children's perception of their city centre: a qualitative GIS methodological investigation in a Dutch city

Haifa AlArasi, Javier Martinez, Sherif Amer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Children have unique and important contributions to make to urban discourses. However, despite recent sociological shift in the notion of ‘childhood’ that holds children to be active social beings with full agency and capacities to participate in their societies, their experiences are usually invisible, relegated to the margins. In disciplines such as geography and urban planning numerous studies have delivered increasing evidence that children are not only able to identify issues that matter to them, but they are also capable of effectively participating in addressing those issues. This chapter presents a case study in the city of Enschede (the Netherlands), where a qualitative GIS approach (qGIS) was used to enable children to register their perceptions of the urban environment. Twenty eight children aged 10-17 years were involved in examining the city centre. Insights into their perceptions and the associated physical and social qualities of the city centre are discussed in detail. The results show both similarities and differences in perception (e.g. based on gender and age group) and the emergence of new, location-specific qualities (e.g. natural elements, smart technologies, economic functions). The chapter concludes with a brief discussion on the potential of the adopted qualitative GIS approach in urban planning processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGIS in Sustainable Urban Planning and Management
Subtitle of host publicationA Global Perspective
EditorsM.F.A.M. van Maarseveen, J.A. Martinez, J. Flacke
Place of PublicationBoca Raton
PublisherCRC Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-14663-8
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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