DescriptionGroningen has beautiful landscapes, a rich diversity in green and blue areas and lovely villages. However, some recent changes such as demographic changes (e.g. outmigration of youngsters for different reasons) may become threats to the quality of life in these areas. Quality of public spaces, their accessibility, safety, and the presence or absence of different facilities have a great impact on the perception of people concerning the quality of life in their village. Teenagers represent a population group that is much neglected in tackling the consequences of population decline. Their perceptions, which are different from those of adults, are usually not incorporated into policy measures to improve the quality of life.
The aim of this paper is to present a qualitative approach to capture teenagers' perceptions of their living environments in rural areas. It gives a detailed insight into why certain perceptions occur and what the associated physical and social qualities are, using a framework based on the GO! Method. The approach considers teenagers as active participants and combines quantitative (Maptionnaire) and qualitative (focus groups) methods. Thirty-eight teenagers aged 11–16 from two villages participated in identifying the best public spaces in the villages, as well as those places/cycling pathways that need to be improved and the facilities that are absent. Almost all participants enjoy the peacefulness, greeneries and the fact that they know a lot of people in their village. However, lack of traffic safety for cyclists along some cycling paths, lack of personal safety in some green areas, limited jobs for teenagers in the villages, absence of high school or limited academic track options, absence of certain sport facilities / organised activities for teenagers, lack of clothing shops for teenagers and places for gathering with friends were mentioned as areas of improvement for their villages. The results show both similarity and heterogeneity in perception (e.g. based on gender and age group) and the emergence of paying more attention to teenagers’ activities in rural areas. Findings from this study provide baseline results for facilitating informed decision making concerning the creation of more attractive rural environments for teenagers, young adults and subsequently for families with young children.
|Period||23 Aug 2021 → 26 Aug 2021|
|Event title||60th ERSA Congress: “Territorial Futures – Visions and Scenarios for a resilient Europe”|
|Degree of Recognition||International|
- quality of life
- rural areas
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