Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Cited by 21
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: October 2009

11 - The socio-environmental affordances of adolescents' environments

Summary

Introduction

Whilst children's environments have been comprehensively researched and reported in environmental psychology, adolescents' use and evaluation of their environments have received virtually no attention; we believe this to be the first review of its kind. This chapter attempts to provide a theoretical framework for examining and explaining the meaning and function of four salient environments for adolescents – the home, school, neighbourhood and town/city centre. Furthermore, this chapter focuses on the function of these environments for the realization of social interaction and retreat opportunities. The theoretical framework has been informed by, but also tries to move forward from, Gibson's (1979) theory of affordances and Heft's later application of Gibson's ideas to outdoor environments (Heft, 1988, 2001). The significant contribution of this study is that it articulates and makes the case for a more socially-driven concept of affordances. The chapter concludes by reporting briefly on recent research undertaken in the UK (Clark, 2001; Clark and Uzzell, 2002) which sought to measure the socio-environmental affordances of the environment and their implications for adolescent behaviour.

Environmental perception – Gibson's theory of affordances

The issue of environmental perception, and more specifically, social perception, lies at the heart of any attempt to evaluate the function of the environment. In order for an individual to be able to interact with the environment they have to be able to perceive its social meaning.

References
Altman, I. and Rogoff, B. (1987). World views in psychology: trait, interactional, organismic and transactional perspectives. In Stokols, D. and Altman, I. (eds.), Handbook of Environmental Psychology, Volume I. Florida: Krieger Publishing Company.
Anthony, K. H. (1985). The shopping mall: A teenage hangout. Adolescence, 20, 307–12.
Barbey, G. (1976). L'appropriation des espaces du logement: tentative de cadrage théorique. In Korosec-Serfaty, P. (ed.), Actes de la 3ème Conférence Internationale de Psychologie de l'Espace Construit (pp. 215–18). Strasbourg: Université de Strasbourg Press.
Barker, R. G. and Wright, H. F. (1951). One Boy's Day: A Specimen Record of Behavior. New York: Harper.
Barthes, R. (1973). Mythologies. St Albans: Granada.
Beck, L. E. (2000). Child Development. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Berger, K. S. (2001). The Developing Person Through the Lifespan, 5th Edition. New York: Worth Publishers.
Blatchford, P. (1998). Social Life in Schools. London: Falmer Press.
Brown, S. (1995). Crime and safety in whose ‘community’?: Age, everyday life and problems for youth policy. Youth & Policy, 48, 27–48.
Bryant, B. K. (1985). The neighbourhood walk: sources of support in middle childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Serial No 210, 50(3).
Chawla, L. (1990). Ecstatic places. Children's Environments Quarterly, 7(4), 18–23.
Chipuer, H. M., Bramston, P. and Pretty, G. (2003). Determinants of subjective quality of life among rural adolescents: a developmental perspective. Social Indicators Research, 61, 79–95.
Clark, C. (2001). The Affordances of Adolescents' Environments. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Guildford: University of Surrey, UK.
Clark, C. and Uzzell, D. L. (2002). The affordances of the home, neighbourhood, school and town centre for adolescents. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22(1/2), 95–108.
Coleman, J. C. (1979). The School Years. London: Methuen.
Coleman, J. C. and Hendry, L. B. (1990). The Nature of Adolescence, 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
Costall, A. (1995). Socializing affordances. Theory & Psychology, 5(4), 467–81.
Cotterell, J. (1991). The emergence of adolescent territories in a large urban leisure environment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 11, 25–41.
Dovey, K. (1990). Refuge and imagination: places of peace in childhood. Children's Environments Quarterly, 7(4), 13–17.
Durkin, K. (1995). Developmental Social Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton.
Eubanks Owens, P. (1988). Natural landscapes, gathering places and prospect refuges: characteristics of outdoor places valued by teens. Children's Environments Quarterly, 5, 17–24.
Eubanks Owens, P. (1994). Valued outdoor places: a study of teen places in Sunshine, Australia. In Feldman, R. M., Hardie, G. and Saile, D. G. (eds.), Power by Design (pp. 62–6). Chicago: The Environmental Design Research Association.
Eubanks Owens, P. (1999). No teens allowed: the exclusion of adolescents from public spaces. Bulletin of People-Environment Studies, 14, 21–4.
Francis, M. (1995). Childhood's garden: memory and meaning of gardens. Children's Environments, 12(2), 183–91.
Gaver, W. W. (1996). Affordances for interaction: the social is material for design. Ecological Psychology, 8(2), 111–29.
Gibson, E. J. and Walk, R. D. (1960). The ‘visual cliff’. Scientific American, 202, 64–71.
Gibson, E. J., Riccio, G., Schumuckler, M. A., Stoffregen, T. A., Rosenberg, D. and Tamorina, J. (1987). Detection of the traversability of surfaces by crawling and walking infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 13, 533–44.
Gibson, J. J. (1966). The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Gibson, J. J. (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Goffman, E. (1963). Behavior in Public Places. New York: Free Press.
Hall, L. (1994). Teenagers in suburbia: a case study in a California suburb. In Feldman, R. M., Hardie, G. and Saile, D. G. (eds.), Power by Design. Chicago: The Environmental Design Research Association.
Hart, R. (1979). Children's Experience of Place. New York: Irvington Publishers Inc.
Heft, H. (1988). Affordances of children's environments: a functional approach to environmental description. Children's Environments Quarterly, 5(3), 29–37.
Heft, H. (2001). Ecological Psychology in Context: James Gibson, Roger Barker and the Legacy of William James's Radical Empiricism. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Hendry, L. B., Shucksmith, J., Love, M. J. G. and Glendinning, A. (1993). Young People's Leisure and Lifestyles. London: Routledge.
Hopkins, J. S. P. (1991). West Edmonton Mall as a centre for social interaction. The Canadian Geographer, 35(3), 268–79.
Kaplan, S. and Kaplan, R. (1982). Cognition & the Environment: Functioning In An Uncertain World. New York: Praeger.
Kaplan, R. and Kaplan, S. (1989). The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kaplan, S. and Kaplan, R. (2003). Health, supportive environments, and the reasonable person model. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1484–89.
Korpela, K. (1989). Place identity as a produce of environmental self-regulation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 9(3), 241–56.
Korpela, K. (1992). Adolescents' favourite places and environmental self-regulation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 12(3), 249–58.
Korpela, K. and Hartig, T. (1996). Restorative qualities of favourite places. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16(3), 221–33.
Lalli, M. (1992). Urban-related identity: theory, measurement and empirical findings. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 12(4), 285–303.
Lewis, G. H. (1989). Rats and bunnies: core kids in an American mall. Adolescence, 24, 881–9.
Lieberg, M. (1995). Teenagers and public space. Communication Research, 22(6), 720–44.
Lieberg, M. (1997). Youth in their local environment. In Camstra, R. (ed.), Growing up in a Changing Urban Landscape. Assen, Netherlands: van Gorum and Co.
Lupton, D. (1999). Dangerous places and the unpredictable stranger: constructions of fear of crime. The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 32(1), 1–15.
Malone, K. and Hasluck, L. (1998). Geographies of exclusion: young people's perceptions and use of public space. Family Matters, 49, 20–6.
Matthews, H., Taylor, M., Percy-Smith, B. and Limb, M. (2000). The unacceptable flaneur – the shopping mall as a teenage hangout. Childhood – A Global Journal of Child Research, 7(3), 279–94.
Moore, R. C. (1986). Childhood's Domain: Play and Place in Child Development. London: Croom Helm.
Moser, G. and Uzzell, D. L. (2003) Environmental psychology. In Millon, T. and Lerner, M. J. (eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Psychology, Volume v: Personality and Social Psychology (pp. 419–45). New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Newman, B. and Newman, P. (1976). Early adolescence and its conflict: groupidentity versus alienation. Adolescence, 11, 261–74.
Noack, P. and Silbereisen, R. K. (1988). Adolescent development and choice of leisure settings. Children's Environments Quarterly, 5, 25–33.
Palmonari, A., Pombeni, M. L. and Kirchler, E. (1990). Adolescents and their peer groups: a study on the significance of peers, social categorisation processes and coping with developmental tasks. Social Behaviour, 5, 33–48.
Pretty, G. M. H., Conroy, C., Dugay, J., Fowler, K. and Williams, D. (1996). Sense of community and its relevance to adolescents of all ages. Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 365–79.
Proshansky, H. M., Fabian, A. K. and Kaminoff, R. (1983). Place identity: physical world socialisation of the self. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3(1), 57–83.
Proshansky, H. M. and Fabian, A. K. (1987). The development of place identity in the child. In Weinstein, C. S. and David, T. S. (eds.), Spaces for Children: The Built Environment and Child Development. New York: Plenum Press.
Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the Self. Florida: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company.
Schiavo, R. S. (1987). Home use and evaluation by suburban youth: gender differences. Children's Environments Quarterly, 4(4), 8–12.
Schiavo, R. S. (1988). Age differences in the assessment and use of a suburban neighbourhood among children and adolescents. Children's Environments Quarterly, 5, 4–9.
Sebba, R. and Churchman, A. (1986). The uniqueness of the home. Architecture & Comportment: Architecture & Behaviour, 3(1), 7–24.
Silbereisen, R. K. and Eyferth, K. (1986). Development as action in context. In Silbereisen, R. K., Eyferth, K. and Rudinger, G. (eds.), Development as Action in Context: Problem Behaviour and Normal Youth Development. New York: Springer.
Speller, G. M. (2000). A community in transition: a longitudinal study of place attachment and identity processes in the context of an enforced relocation. Unpublished PhD thesis. Guildford: University of Surrey, UK.
Spencer, C. and Woolley, H. (2000). Children and the city: a summary of recent environmental psychology research. Child: Care, Health and Development, 26(3), 181–97.
Twigger-Ross, C. L. and Uzzell, D. L. (1996). Place and identity processes. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16, 205–20.
Ulrich, R. S. (1983). Aesthetic and affective response to the natural environment. Human Behaviour & Environment: Advances in Theory and Research, 6, 85–125.
Uzzell, D. L. (1995). The myth of the indoor city. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15(4), 299–310.
Valentine, G. (1996). Children should be seen and not heard: the production and transgression of adults' public space. Urban Geography, 17(3), 205–20.
Vanderbeck, R. M. and Johnson, J. H. (2000). ‘That's the only place where you can hang out’: urban young people and the space of the mall. Urban Geography, 21(1), 5–25.
Andel, J. (1990). Places children like, dislike and fear. Children's Environments Quarterly, 7(4), 24–31.
Wallenius, M. (1999). Personal projects in everyday places: perceived supportiveness of the environment and psychological well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 19, 131–43.
Woolley, H., Spencer, C. P., Dunn, J. and Rowley, G. (1999). The child as citizen. Journal of Urban Design, 4, 255–82.