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Book2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Children's everyday recreational mobilities - growing up in a densifying Swedish small town

Jansson, Maerit; Sunding, Anna


Access to urban open space is of large importance for the child-friendliness of built environments and might also play an important role in children's sustainable recreational mobilities. Yet, little is known about how children's everyday recreation and associated mobilities are affected by planning projects and densification processes, where ideas of sustainable mobility often focus on a transit-oriented development (TOD) based on densification in areas around transport nodes. In this study, we examine the current rapid development of a small town in the south of Sweden, affected by TOD ideals. The case is studied through the perspectives of local children aged 10-11, focusing on their recreational mobilities and the current development, using walking interviews. The children described the current projects as happening fast, diminishing their spaces and increasing car traffic without their perspectives being included. Compared to a study conducted 5 years earlier in the same small town, the children appeared to find less places for them and to focus more on formal places programmed for their use. There are reasons to be critical to how densification is being realised in relation to sustainable recreational mobilities, if leading to continuous car dependence but with less access to sufficient and varied open spaces of interest to children. This study also shows the importance of including children of various ages in both research and practice to strive for sustainability.


Child-friendly environments; children's perspectives; independent mobility; informal spaces; transit-adjacent development; transit-oriented development; welfare planning

Published in

Local Environment
2024, Volume: 29, number: 6, pages: 705-721