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numéro 111
février 2016

La ville des enfants et des adolescents

Clément Rivière

Drawing on in-depth interviews conducted in Paris (France) and Milan (Italy), this article explores parents’ perceptions of the transformations in children’s uses of urban space, by confronting interviewees’ own childhood experience and their current educational practices. The aim of the analysis is to shed light on children’s withdrawal from public spaces in Western cities along the last decades. Parents’ memories allow to distinguish three complementary set of explanations in order to understand this retreat from public spaces, considered by most parents as less auspicious arenas for children’s autonomous play and mobility than in past.

Emmanuelle Guyavarch, Erwan Le Méner, Nicolas Oppenchaim

More and more homeless children are accomodated in subsidized hotels or shelters with their parents. Theses families grapple with a housing system that provides stays of unpredictable lengths, and entail high residential instability. This paper draws upon a randomized survey, of 232 6 to 12 year old children for whom primar schooling is mandatory. We show that homelessness hinders the social practices and relationships of the children, at the shelter, around the neighborhood or around the school.

Thomas Riffaud, Christophe Gibout, Robin Recours

Based on a street sports study conducted in skateparks and dealing with children participants and their parents, the authors show that streets and city centers as play spaces are progressively deserted at this age. Nowadays the young populations practice above all for the joy of playing and almost exclusively in skateparks. The interviews about the use of skateparks have also highlighted complex intergenerational cohabitations that create sociability in a closed in on itself community. As a micro-sociological identifier, the confinement of street sports shows a sporting and space normalization that fit with the representations and needs of children and parents.

Claire Aragau, Catherine Didier-Fèvre, Lionel Rougé

This analysis made from a lot of current investigations and surveys on the Grand Paris focuses on the role of the young generation as a major key for the understanding of the new local ties between the young people and their territories. What kind of everyday-life territories could take shape through the different chilhood’s steps, then for the teens? How do they adapt themselves over their new periurban territories? At what extent do the local policymakers account the young generation through the public policies as a major element for the local development and to strengthen all the urban territories?

Elsa Ramos, François de Singly

The present article aims at mapping out urban mobility and its signification. It is based on a series of interviews, conducted with male and female teenagers from Paris and Lisbonne, living either in the city centre, or in the surrounding suburbs. Teenagers insist on the « nooks and crannies » that allow them to hide (in a safe place,) in order to do what they want : laughing, but mostly getting away from adults’ eyes. They are not set out (to conqueer the space and) to go as far as possible. Their main concern is to have their own world, without dreaming, for now, of bigger urban areas.

Joël Zaffran

Adolescents from twelve years of age no longer use urban community facilities available to them. This phenomenon could be explained by the low supply and access costs. However the leisure offer is relatively evenly distributed across territories and represents a significant investment of local actors anxious to provide academic support and properly manage the public space. A study of this disaffection has been conducted on the one hand to explain this rejection, as a voluntary non taken on the other hand to sketch an urban policy focusing on young people. This article proposes to deal with it in three parts. In the first part, it identifies the concept of adolescence by a sociological approach that views this age of life as a series of life challenges. In the second part, explains the reasons for the withdrawal of equipment, focusing specifically on the struggle for independence. In the last part, the paper outlines a theory of adolescence that sees the city as a place of experimentation and that values mobility rather than a place to manage a public at risk, and promotes mobility.

Isabelle Danic

Based on two surveys in two « sensitive urban areas », this article wants to present the place of male and female teenagers in these spaces. While local public policies allocate the same places for both, family and social care respect male appropriation of local norms. In response to this, « weak » teenagers, more often girls, let males appropriate spaces and occupy their home, other less visible public spaces or move outside the neighbourhood.

Damien Boone

The growing number of Municipal Youth Councils (in France, the “CME”) seems, at first, to emphasize the importance dedicated to children’s opinions and their ability to be actors in their own town. Contrary to the aims that their promoters state, the CME largely contribute to restrict children to some activities (visiting elderly people, cleaning green spaces….) which confine them to a role that does not transgress in any way common sense representations about them (innocence, vulnerability, human beings in development…). In addition, these activities are then summoned to explain some innate and natural childish features. Finally, the CME participate in maintaining children in their “proper place”, that is to say subject to various dependencies that undermine the official requirement of equal rights.

Juan Torres, Natasha Blanchet-Cohen

What changes does a Child Friendly Cities accreditation bring about in local policies and representations of childhood? This question is at the center of our analysis of the Quebec program created in 2009. Our analysis is based on an action research project carried out in 2011-2012 with two accredited cities as well as semi-structured interviews with eight employees from other accredited municipalities. Change and continuity were observed in three areas : (1) topics covered by policies and projects (2) children’s participation in developing policies and projects and (3) usefulness municipal employees attribute to accreditation.

Jean-Yves Authier, Virginie Bathellier, Sonia Lehman-Frisch