Geographies of Children’s Well-Being: in, of, and for Place

  • John H. McKendrick


There has been growing interest in the macro-geography of children’s well-being in recent years. Many influential studies, by respected scholars and international agencies, have demonstrated that children’s well-being comprises many components and that domain-specific and overall levels of well-being vary quite significantly, and often unexpectedly, from place to place. This chapter reinforces the central conclusion of this work – that children’s well-being is shaped by where they live. However, this chapter also extends the analysis by focusing attention on how, and by how much, place matters in shaping children’s well-being. It argues that “good places” for children are those which are (1) inclusive, presenting all children with equivalent experiences; (2) participative, affording children an active role; (3) environments of opportunity, providing appropriate spaces and facilities; and (4) resourced with key services. This knowledge is used to propose a taxonomy to assess the extent to which neighborhoods make positive contributions to children’s lives. To complement this tool which summarizes the offering of place (potential impact), a second evaluative tool is proposed to summary the extent of the impact of place on children (actual impact). Finally, a conceptual framework is proposed to situate the contribution of place alongside other factors that contribute to the well-being that children experience. In conclusion, it is contended that working toward improving children’s well-being inadvertently leads to the creation of places that better serve the needs of the wider population, children, and adults alike.


Good Place Child Poverty League Table Neighborhood Problem International Research Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and Social SciencesGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK

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