The built environment and early childhood development: qualitative evidence from disadvantaged Australian communities

Karen Villanueva, Geoffrey Woolcock, Sharon Goldfeld, Robert Tanton, Sally Brinkman, Ilan Katz, Billie Giles-Corti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores neighborhood-built environment features related to ‘better than expected’ and ‘as expected’ early childhood development outcomes (ECD) in 14 Australian disadvantaged communities. This paper draws from mixed methods data collected in the Kids in Communities Study–an Australian investigation of community effects on ECD–in communities across five states and territories. In total, 93 interviews and 30 focus groups were conducted with service providers and parents, and geographic information systems were used to create built environment measures for each local community. Housing factors (e.g. better affordability, tenure, less high-density public housing) were consistently related to disadvantaged local communities with ‘better than expected’ ECD outcomes. Physical access to services and public transport, living in a walkable area, having high-quality public open space, and a mix of local destinations was perceived to be consistently important by community members in disadvantaged communities regardless of ECD outcomes. Findings may help policymakers to consider neighborhood features that contribute to better ECD outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalChildren's Geographies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2022

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