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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Sociological analysis of children and their urban environment is associated with its segmentation, marking out public (community) and private territories, comparing physical and social space, and determining the mechanisms that get children involved in urban community life. In this article1 social space is examined as a space for children’s everyday urban life. Social spaces are divided into formal and informal, territories supported by civil administration or by the local community, as well as adults’, children’s or mixed areas. The goal of this study is to analyze organizational characteristics of social spaces using two Far Eastern cities (Khabarovsk and Vladivostok) as an example: the main consideration is how well-suited they are for children. Urban environment analysis is based on six criteria – accessibility, convenience, orientation towards development, presence of green plantations, appeal and safety. Study methods include observation (with photography), non-standardized interviews with parents (N = 7), and examination of Internetforums, namely – Vladmama, Khabmama. Analyzing social spaces in the capital cities of Khabarovsk Territory and Primorsky Krai helped determine their tendencies for development, as well as reveal their main problems. Similar development characteristics lie in the improvement of “foreground” territories (formal social spaces), the construction of modern children’s and sports grounds, as well as more intense community involvement in improving territories near houses/buildings along with informal social spaces. Urban problems mainly come down to the quality of road-surfaces and street lighting, lack of green plantations and informal social spaces, and violation of material and physical accessibility principles for social spaces. While studying urban environments, another important organizational principle for social spaces was established – the zoning principle.
children, urban, social spaces, comfort, accessibility, tendencies