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'Chilling' and 'hopping' in the 'teenage space network': explorations in teenagers' geographies in the city of Mechelen

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Within the field of children's geographies several calls have been made to develop 'teenagers' geographies' as a complementary field of research and practice. It has been stated that teenagers remain 'invisible' or 'marginalised' in public debates as well as in research and practice, even within childhood studies and children's geographies. Further explorations in teenagers' geographies could contribute to the research on 'diverse childhoods'. This article explores the spatial worlds of teenagers (approximately 12-16 years) in Flanders (Belgium), a region characterised by a dense network of smaller cities and 'urban sprawl'. Based on street interviews and observations in a small city several mental maps and patterns of teenagers' use of public space were identified. Starting from a case study in the city of Mechelen, this article suggests how these perspectives can be integrated into urban planning by identifying and tying together relevant planning layers, thus creating a more closely knit 'teenage space network'.
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Keywords: Belgium; Flanders; street interviews; teenagers; urban planning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Childhood & Society Research Centre - Onderzoekscentrum Kind & Samenleving, Meise, Belgium

Publication date: 01 May 2011

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