Thursday 7th October 2010 by C. Freeman
Researchers from The University of Northampton are seeking local students to take part in a survey about growing up in newly-built communities. As part of the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, young people will take part in a GPS mapping experiment where they will wear a device to show which parts of their community they visit.
When collated all of the data will help agencies such as local authorities and town planners both improve existing communities and also refine plans for new urban developments.
Dr John Horton and Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill, geographers from The University of Northampton, are part of a nine-strong team, with colleagues from both Leicester and Warwick Universities.
They are specifically targeting young people aged between 9 and 16 who live either on the Oakley Vale estate or in Mawsley near Kettering, and similar research has taken place at Upton Fields near Northampton. If you are eligible to take part then simply download, complete and return a consent form to Mr Bidwell who will forward it to the research team.
Dr Horton said: 'We are doing a mapping survey where we give young people a clip-on GPS device to carry in their pockets as they go about a week in their life. At the end of the week we download that data onto a big map of that community and that gives us a picture of where people go in the community. We will ask people about why they like one place and don't visit others. It is really useful information for planners or policy makers trying to understand how a community flows through its environment.'
Further research will cover topics of mobility, citizenship and sustainability and there is an emphasis on getting young people's views heard and documented.
Dr Hadfield-Hill said: 'Whatever we do find out will directly make differences for the children who live in those communities and we are spending six months in each area. We are keen on giving things back to the community, getting to know the young people and their parents and holding workshops with those who have taken part in the research.'