Children's places: Rural-Urban comparisons using participatory photography in the Bodrum peninsula, Turkey

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Sancar F. H. , Severcan Y. C.

Journal of Urban Design, vol.15, pp.293-324, 2010 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13574809.2010.487808
  • Journal Name: Journal of Urban Design
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.293-324


Urban place-making requires an understanding of experiences and meanings ordinary people associate with common environments—meanings that often go back to their childhoods. This paper investigates how children’s place preferences and the attributes of these places differ along a rural-urban continuum. Participatory photography was used with four groups of children (ages 9–11) living in three different municipalities of the Bodrum peninsula, Turkey—a region that has experienced major transformation over the past three decades due to tourism. The research reported here was part of planning and urban design studios during the summers of 2005–2007, and the results were integrated with the projects and presented to the public. The particular municipalities where the children resided vary in tourism-based urbanization and the associated socioeconomic and environmental characteristics. In all cases, the children valued experiencing nature, being in contact with people and having diversity and freedom in their environments. Although all four of these factors are essential for producing healthy, loved and sustainable communities, it was also observed that as traditional landscapes are replaced by spaces of tourism and consumption, the specific attributes of children’s preferred places change, as does the diversity of place types and experiences, and children have less freedom to explore independently. These changes have implications for people’s attachment to places and ought to be considered by planners and urban designers as well as public officials who are responsible for guiding redevelopment in areas undergoing rapid change.