Changing contexts: young people's experiences of growing up in regeneration areas of Glasgow

Neary, Joanne (2015) Changing contexts: young people's experiences of growing up in regeneration areas of Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (7MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


Background and rationale:
Urban regeneration is an example of an intervention that seeks to address social and spatial inequalities that negatively affect the health and wellbeing of residents living in inner-city neighbourhoods (Thomson et al., 2006, Kearns, 2012). Although urban regeneration takes many forms, this thesis focuses on the policy of relocation. This policy is practiced across different countries including US, UK, and in Western Europe, and involves moving residents out of sub-standard housing. Post-relocation of resident population, the substandard housing is demolished and the neighbourhood is redeveloped. While previous studies regarding young people and relocation have focused on outcomes (Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn, 2005, Deluca and Rosenblatt, 2010, Zuberi, 2012) or young people’s feelings of empowerment within the decision making process (Fitzpatrick et al., 2000); little is known about how young people experience the process of moving, or how they perceive and negotiate neighbourhood change. Therefore the aim of the thesis is to address this gap in knowledge.

Using qualitative, longitudinal, mixed-method (semi-structured home interviews, go-along, and photo-elicitation) interviews, 15 participants between the ages of 11-18 were interviewed in 2011, with a subsample re-interviewed in 2012. Participants were recruited from two deprived neighbourhoods (in Glasgow, Scotland) that were undergoing similar programmes of regeneration and relocation. At wave one, all participants lived in a high-rise flat due for demolition, and were awaiting relocation.

Pre-relocation, most participants described witnessing change in the neighbourhood although, given the slow process of regeneration, it was unsurprising that the participants’ everyday experiences of neighbourhood were inexplicably tied to their experience of regeneration. It was therefore difficult to separate the two, as one appeared to influence the other. For some, the slow progress of regeneration meant experiencing continuing (or worsening) physical and social problems in the neighbourhood. For example, participants who were aware or concerned about antisocial behaviour (ASB) in the neighbourhood were also more likely to feel that regeneration had made their neighbourhood a more dangerous place to walk in.
Post-relocation, participants described their new neighbourhoods as comparatively more quiet and clean, although they also suggested that there were still problems of ASB. While relocation provided some challenges for the participants, in general they found the experience non-stressful and at times found that their new neighbourhood was closer to friends and family. At the same time as experiencing urban change, all of the participants experienced biographical change. These changes often occurred independently of the regeneration, and were often described as more stressful. For the participants, these changes included changing or leaving school, relationship breakdowns, and parental separation. In these instances, regeneration and relocation were seen as the most manageable change occurring in their life.

The thesis highlights the importance of examining the entire process of regeneration and relocation rather than focusing on the outcomes associated with it. Given the slow process of regeneration, many of the young people interviewed in the study were growing up within, through, and alongside these neighbourhood changes, with changes in their personal lives being more influential or stressful than change at the neighbourhood-level. However, they were not victims of circumstance, but rather, were active in maintaining a ‘normal’ everyday life by utilising social and spatial resources.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: urban regeneration, housing, young people, resilience, participatory methods
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Lawson, Ms Louise and Kearns, Professor Ade
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Miss Joanne Neary
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6447
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 10:42
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2015 15:51

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year