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Article

Considering Autonomous Exploration in Healthy Environments: Reflections from an Urban Wildscape

by 1,* and 2
1
Landscape Architecture, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
2
Landscape Architecture, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Iana Markevych, Matthew Browning, Angel Dzhambov and Peter Lercher
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211867
Received: 28 September 2021 / Revised: 29 October 2021 / Accepted: 31 October 2021 / Published: 12 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural and Built Outdoor Environments and Children’s Health)
Autonomous exploration should be considered in the creation of healthy environments since autonomy is an important developmental experience for children. For a group of boys in Raleigh, N.C., U.S. during the period 2002–2006, autonomous exploration was a meaningful experience. Results of a qualitative research project (n = 5) which highlight the importance of autonomous exploration are organized within a proposed framework for thick description. The framework creates verisimilitude by reporting on the context, social action and cultural context, and behavior and intentionality. The context of Raleigh and urban wildscapes furnished areas ripe for exploration. The social action and cultural context of attachment supported the autonomous exploration through scaffolded experiences of autonomy. The intentionality of the behavior was a desire to distinct themselves through a focus on individual development and the pursuit of extraordinary experiences. The ultimate outcomes of autonomous exploration for the boys were the development of long-term, intimate friendships and confidence in their decision-making ability. As cities become more health-focused, attention should be paid to preserve the rough edges of a city for children to explore. View Full-Text
Keywords: free-range parenting; autonomy; attachment; thick description; children and nature free-range parenting; autonomy; attachment; thick description; children and nature
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MDPI and ACS Style

Little, S.; Rice, A. Considering Autonomous Exploration in Healthy Environments: Reflections from an Urban Wildscape. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11867. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211867

AMA Style

Little S, Rice A. Considering Autonomous Exploration in Healthy Environments: Reflections from an Urban Wildscape. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(22):11867. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211867

Chicago/Turabian Style

Little, Sarah, and Art Rice. 2021. "Considering Autonomous Exploration in Healthy Environments: Reflections from an Urban Wildscape" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 22: 11867. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211867

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