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Launch of new project to give children a voice on urban expansion

A new research project launched today (10) will use GPS tracking and mobile phone text messages to explore the experiences of children and young people growing up in new urban areas.

The University of Warwick is hosting the launch of a major new project called ‘New Urbanisms, New Citizens: children and young people’s everyday life and participation in sustainable communities’.

The three-year project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is a collaboration between Warwick, the University of Northampton and the University of Leicester.

The focus of the project is the issues and needs of children and young people aged 11-16 living in the Milton Keynes South Midlands Growth Area, which is projected to undergo some of the most rapid and extensive urban development of all Growth Areas and to incorporate between 300,000 and 500,000 new dwellings by 2031.

As well as conventional interviews with volunteer children, the researchers will also use a range of innovative technologies including GPS tracking of children’s movements, text messages to specially provided mobile phones to poll them on their daily activities and web-based forums where they can meet and discuss issues online.

The project leader, Professor Pia Christensen from the University of Warwick, said: “So far we have very little knowledge about the experiences and lives of children and young people growing up in new urban communities. Today it is important to understand how we can create sustainable communities for all with children and young people’s needs, participation and citizenship in mind.”

Notes to editors

For further information please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, University of Warwick,, 02476 574255, 07824 540863

Professor Pia Christensen, Professor of Anthropology and Childhood Studies, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, 02476 523938,