Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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You Could Never Have a Third Place in a Sausage Factory

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Version 1 2021-12-08, 23:07
posted on 2023-09-26, 01:37 authored by Thomas, Elinor

In the face of climate crisis, we must take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. One key strategy for doing this is to decrease travel by private vehicles through increasing the use of other travel modes like walking and cycling. However, children’s travel by these active travel modes has decreased significantly in many western countries over recent generations. One of the main factors associated with this decrease is the proliferation of attitudes that constrain children’s presence in public spaces, including those of their home neighbourhood. These attitudes can result in local parenting norms where children are habitually taken by car, even for short trips. Apart from the contribution to traffic these attitudes and behaviour have, there are also a number of other benefits from active and independent travel that children miss out on. As well as providing a good source of physical activity, the experience of actively travelling through their neighbourhood equips children with a good knowledge of their local environment and can support a child’s development towards being an active participant in their society. This thesis aims to investigate whether child-led placemaking -where participants work collaboratively to take action in addressing a problem in their local area- can change these attitudes to increase children’s use of public spaces and active travel. This research was conducted in partnership with a primary school. Data was collected during a co-researching process where 30 children designed and built places within the marginal public spaces of their neighbourhood. These places were designed to provide opportunities for the wider community to engage with these spaces and each other. This study found that this placemaking process increased children’s sense of connection to their neighbourhood and created opportunities for spontaneous informal social interaction. There was also some increase in independent and active travel, but this was mainly for boys.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Kiddle, Rebecca