Accessible space? Urban youths’ needs and barriers in everyday life
Sammanfattning: In the light of new sustainability challenges in cities brought forward by increasing urbanpopulations, the realm of urban transportation research has gradually digressed from planningfor accessibility by mobility to instead emphasise the benefits of accessibility by proximity.This shift brings with it a possibility to elucidate and expand knowledge on population groupsthat previously have been neglected in earlier planning processes. One of these populationgroups are youths; not yet adults but with greater needs on independence in terms ofaccessibility than children. Consequently, youths as a population group in relation toaccessibility have been researched in this thesis with the aim to examine their accessibilityneeds, practices and barriers thereof. The thesis focuses empirically on youths living in theurban area of Brunnsbo in Gothenburg, Sweden which is done through the employment of twoqualitative methods; activity diaries and semi-structured interviews. 14 youths between the agesof 12 and 16 recorded their spatial movements in activity diaries and were subsequentlyinterviewed about their accessibility.The thesis found that youths’ accessibility practices to a great degree are characterised byproximity; many of the youths live stationary lifestyles and seldom leave their home area. Thesepractices enabled the youths to exercise much of their accessibility through slow modes oftransport such as walking. However, it was also found that the youths were routine users ofpublic transport, even for very short distances. That proximity is central to youths’ accessibilitypractices also means that needs and practices in relation to youth accessibility to a great degreeconform; many of the most common destinations frequented by the youths were related to socialneeds and are located in Brunnsbo or within its vicinities. However, the youths experience arange of barriers that hinder or alter their accessibility needs and practices. They vary frombeing constituted by parental constraints and traffic to perceptions of fear of people and placesas well as feelings of being observed by others. These barriers especially affect girls’accessibility, adding a gendered dimension to barriers of youth accessibility.The results of the thesis demonstrate that youth accessibility needs and practices to somedegrees conform to the planning for accessibility by proximity shift, in that youth accessibilityis largely governed by proximity.
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