CFP: Children, Young People and Families in Changing Urban Spaces


3rd and 4th September 2014

Centre for Children and Youth

University of Northampton, UK

 Organising committee:

John Horton, Faith Tucker, Sophie Hadfield-Hill (University of Birmingham), Michelle Pyer, Rebekah Ryder

Keynote speaker:

Tracey Skelton (National University of Singapore)


This conference will bring together new, multidisciplinary research exploring the lives, issues and experiences of children, young people and families in diverse, international urban contexts. In three senses, we propose that it is timely for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners with an interest in this field to share experiences of working in changing urban contexts.

First, so many urban spaces are undergoing profound changes as a result of interconnected political-economic processes, such as economic crisis and austerity politics in the global north, or uneven development and large-scale urbanisation in the global south. This conference will bring together researchers and perspectives at the vanguard of these transformations.

Second, there is evidence that children, young people and families are positioned, and socially constructed, in diverse and sometimes unprecedented ways in changing urban contexts. In wide-ranging research on participation, activisms, political movements, play or independent mobilities, for example, it is evident that changing urban spaces may afford new opportunities or new limits to the agency of children, young people and families. This conference offers an opportunity for diverse research, from diverse locations, to be discussed.

Third, research on urban children, young people and families is itself changing. As a number of publications and collections have made clear, interdisciplinary collaboration and conversations are increasingly commonplace. For example, new insights have resulted from collaborations between: researchers in urban studies, childhood studies and children’s geographies; researchers, young people and youth workers; quantitative, qualitative and GIS/GPS-based research; academic researchers, planners, policy-makers and practitioners; or social scientists and the creative industries. Research on childhood, youth, families and urbanity has also been enlivened and extended through engagements with conceptualisations of the social-material and bodily-emotional-affective nature of identities, relationships and urban built environments and social-cultural geographies. There are surely numerous exciting ways in which researchers from diverse backgrounds might continue to collaborate.

With all this in mind, we invite papers which engage with children and young people in relation to the following topics:

  • Economic crisis and austerity politics;
  • Designing environments for children, young people and families;
  • Movement and mobilities;
  • Urbanisation and economic development in the global south;
  • Play and popular culture;
  • Disabilities, health and wellbeing;
  • Identities, subcultures and friendships;
  • Exclusions, vulnerability, support and care;
  • Innovative concepts and research methods in urban research;
  • Work and economic participation;
  • Social media and digital technologies in the city;
  • Policing, control and surveillance;
  • Urban play, identities, subcultures and popular culture;
  • Built environments and public spaces;
  • Participation, activism and citizenship.

Abstracts (c.200 words) should be emailed to: by 16thApril 2014.

Conference information:

Information about registration for the conference will be available in due course.  The standard fee for this two-day conference will be £125; postgraduate fee £65.  (Additional charge for overnight accommodation.)

For further information, please contact Dr Faith Tucker ( ).