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Migrant children in cities : the spatial constructions of their everyday lives

Sime, Daniela (2016) Migrant children in cities : the spatial constructions of their everyday lives. In: Movement, Mobilities and Journeys. Geographies of Children and Young People, 6 . Springer, Singapore, pp. 271-288. ISBN 9789812870285

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This chapter explores the significance of place in migrant children’s lives, with a focus on their experiences in urban areas. We discuss the reconfigured spatiality of children’s mobility as a result of their migration and examine how current discourses around socially inclusive cities and children’s rights are in contrast with migrant children’s everyday experiences of mobility and social participation. The chapter reviews existing child-inclusive research, in order to map out the extent and limits of children’s spatial mobility post-migration and illustrate their perspectives on life in the city as a child migrant. By looking at children's views on their experiences of inner city mobility, the review highlights the barriers children are confronted with, their limited opportunities for social networking and civic participation and increased confinement to the domestic space. It also examines the factors which impact on children's restricted mobility, including parents' perceptions of safety, cultural beliefs and limited social networks in facilitating access, and argues that current debates on the role of children’s place in cities need to move away from monolithic views of the ‘urban child’. The chapter concludes that limited consideration of the different ways in which (adults in) cities restrict migrant children’s mobility and a narrow understanding of how children can access opportunities are currently hindering the development of inclusive social policies which reflect fairly children’s voice.