Geographies of children’s well-being: in, of, and for place

John H. McKendrick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789048190638
ISBN (Print)9789048190621
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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