Dr. Kirsten Visser

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
Kamer 6.48
3584 CB Utrecht

Dr. Kirsten Visser

Assistant Professor
Urban Geography
+31 30 253 1370
YOUth Got Talent
Individual project description

How can we enable all young people to work toward their future, assert their autonomy, and take advantage of the opportunities that our society offers them? In a intersisciplinary team consisiting of researchers from Human Geography, Social Sciences and Law and with several societal partners we will identify ways to optimize youth’s potential for societal participation, health, and wellbeing, and will help to improve interventions and policies. Through the interdisciplinary focus and involvement of young people and societal partners, we will enhance our understanding of the processes that contribute to social equality and inclusion among young people from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Utrecht University Dynamics of Youth
The Power of Risky Play
General project description

Playing outdoors has countless benefits. It is healthy, it reduces stress and those who play outside need their glasses less often. But there is more. By encouraging risky play to children you also stimulate their cognitive, emotional and motor development. Risky play is also extremely important for children in learning how to assess risks and discover what their limits are. Within the 'The power of risky play' project, we investigate how children, parents, professionals and policy makers experience and are involved in risky play.

Both the physical and social environment are important for children's risky play. Physical and natural elements (trees, water, playground equipment etc.) can stimulate risky play, but the social environment - such as: other children, parents and supervisors - can also influence the extent to which children take risks when playing outside. Do children want to take risks, but are they impeded from doing so by their parents? Or are they encouraged to do so by their friends? And do children, parents and supervisors have the same ideas about what kind of play, and what elements in the playground, are considered risky?

Moreover, policy makers also determine what a playground should look like. What do they actually think about risks? How does this influence how playgrounds are designed? And what are the obstacles and opportunities in implementing risky playgrounds? Therefore, we talk to several policy makers about decision making and the embedding of risky play in policy.

Project Leader
Utrecht University