Is this a good place to grow up in? Neighbourhood quality and children's evaluations

R. Homel*, A. Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    A random sample of 9-11-year-old children living in 18 suburbs of Sydney, Australia, were interviewed regarding their likes and dislikes about their neighbourhood, and their overall evaluation of their area as a "place for children to grow up in". The 18 suburbs were selected to represent a range of scores on the Vinson-Homel risk scale, a composite index of neighbourhood quality derived from health, income, employment, education and welfare statistics that are available on an areal basis. Children's evaluations were strongly related to areal risk scores, with the two highest-risk (inner city) neighbourhoods particularly disfavoured. The major reasons advanced for liking or disliking a neighbourhood were plotted against risk scores, showing a complex pattern of associations, with parks particularly valued by children in the highest-risk areas. A canonical correlation analysis of likes, dislikes and overall ratings showed two canonical variables to be statistically significant. The first was a good-bad dimension, which was strongly associated with risk score. The second contrasted open playspace with private peace and quiet, bringing together the six highest- and lowest-risk areas in comparison to the twelve middling-risk areas. No variables other than risk were found to be predictive of children's evaluations of their neighbourhoods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-116
    Number of pages16
    JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
    Issue numberC
    Publication statusPublished - 1987


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