Children as urbanites : mapping the affordances and behavior settings of urban environments for Finnish and Japanese children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Auckland University of Technology
  • University of Tehran
  • Study Revolution, Inc.


Increasingly, children are residing in urban environments, yet little is known about the urban affordances for children. A place-based approach was employed to map the urban experiences of over 1300 children residing in Helsinki (Finland) and in Tokyo (Japan) in terms of meaningful places (affordances), travel mode and accompaniment to these places. Shared affordances were considered behavior settings, and audited on-site by trained experts for their main function, land use, openness, and communality. Significant differences were found between countries for all affordance categories. Although differences in behavior settings were observed between countries, a number of patterns emerged: outdoor settings and those with shared communality were the most prevalent behavior settings, traffic settings were predominantly evaluated negatively and commercial and indoor settings most positively. Findings suggest that although the context is important, independent mobility and the possibility to actualize environmental affordances seem to be fundamental in both contexts as the key criteria for environmental child-friendliness.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalChildren's Geographies
Issue number3
Early online date20 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • affordances, behavior settings, independent mobility, public participation GIS, Urban environment

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