The Impacts of COVID-19 Responses on Children, Youth and Their Environments in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia


  • Kate Bishop University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Linda Corkery University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Neda Afshar University of Auckland
  • Fatemeh Aminpour University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Mariana Brussoni University of British Columbia
  • Penelope Carroll Massey University
  • Victoria Derr California State University, Monterey Bay
  • Katina Dimoulias Western Sydney University
  • Claire Edwards Independent Researcher/Practitioner
  • Susan Herrington University of British Columbia
  • Julie Johnson University of Washington
  • Angela Kreutz Deakin University
  • Janet Loebach Cornell University
  • Patsy Eubanks Owens University of California, Davis
  • Bryoni Tresize University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Karen Witten Massey University


COVID-19, children, youth, children's environments, children's agency, children's resilience, social disadvantage and vulnerability, children and community


This paper is written by the members of the Children, Youth and Environments Working Group of the Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Research Hub of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, which at present includes members from Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. We use six spheres of experience that characterize the typical contexts of young people’s daily lives to identify their lived environmental experiences in our four countries, as created by the ongoing political and health responses to COVID-19. We discuss both the positive and negative impacts of COVID-19 in these spheres and identify areas for learning from these outcomes.

Author Biographies

Kate Bishop, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Dr. Kate Bishop is Associate Professor and Director of Landscape Architecture in the School of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her background in environment-behavior research reflects her abiding interest in the relationship between people and place and underpins her teaching and research and her particular area of interest: children, youth and environments. She specializes in the research and design of environments for children with special needs; child- and youth-friendly urban planning and design; and participatory methodologies with children and young people.

Linda Corkery, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Over more than 20 years at UNSW, Linda Corkery has served in a number of leadership roles in the Faculty of Built Environment including Discipline Director for Landscape Architecture. Her research addresses urban greenspace planning and design for resilient cities; landscape performance and sustainability; and people-place relationships, in particular the needs of children and young people. Linda is a Fellow and past national president of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Prior to commencing her academic career at UNSW Linda worked as a professional landscape architect on projects in the USA, Hong Kong and Australia.

Neda Afshar, University of Auckland

Neda Afshar is a current Ph.D. student at the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Auckland where she is researching outdoor and innovative learning environments for children. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture in Iran and worked as a registered architect at two architectural engineering companies for more than eight years. Concurrently, she was a lecturer at the University of Mazandaran, Iran.

Fatemeh Aminpour, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Fatemeh Aminpour, Ph.D. is an associate lecturer in the School of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales. Her research interests focus on the relationships between people and their outdoor environments with particular interest in participatory methods for community involvement in design decision-making.

Mariana Brussoni, University of British Columbia

Dr. Mariana Brussoni is a developmental psychologist who investigates child injury prevention and children’s outdoor risky play, focusing on the effects of play, design of outdoor play-friendly environments, parent and caregiver perceptions of risk, and development of behavior change interventions to support outdoor play.

Penelope Carroll, Massey University

Penelope Carroll is a researcher at the SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her research with children and young people includes exploring their perceptions of city living; investigating their wellbeing and sense of place; enabling the participation of disabled children and young people; facilitating child-led research; and helping ensure the voices of children and young people are heard in policy forums.

Victoria Derr, California State University, Monterey Bay

Victoria Derr is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at California State University Monterey Bay, where her teaching and research focus on the intersections between sustainable communities, place-based environmental education, and social justice, particularly in under-represented communities. For more than 20 years, Dr. Derr has engaged children, youth, and communities in community-based and participatory research in both rural and urban settings with tribal, Spanish land grant, and recent immigrant communities as well as in international settings. She holds a masters and Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Yale University.

Katina Dimoulias, Western Sydney University

Katina Dimoulias is Lecturer in the Early Childhood Program, School of Education, Western Sydney University. Dr. Dimoulias is a multidisciplinary researcher, designer and educator whose work in these areas is underpinned by an environment-behavior framework. The focus of her research and teaching has included environments across childhood, with a particular focus on early childhood learning environments and youth environments for vulnerable populations. Dr. Dimoulias has also consulted on both government and non-government early childhood learning and youth center design projects.

Claire Edwards, Independent Researcher/Practitioner

Claire Edwards is a practitioner and researcher (MRes). Her work focuses on the socio-economic, environmental, policy, design and cultural factors affecting public space and people’s access to and provision within it. She explores methods to increase participation and co-creation in the design and development process in order to fulfill rights-based agendas, placemaking principles and social sustainability goals such as ensuring local needs are met, especially for youth. Claire has presented her work at local and international conferences, university, for private companies, government agencies and NGOs. She is an Advocate for PlacemakingX and an Advisor to City Space Architecture.

Susan Herrington, University of British Columbia

Susan Herrington is a Landscape Architect in British Columbia and a registered Landscape Architect in the United States. She is professor in the School of Architecture and the Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. In addition to regularly consulting with architecture and landscape architecture firms in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, she conducts research that examines how basic inexpensive elements of the landscape can contribute to children’s play and development. Her Seven Cs guidelines have been used by child care licensing officers, landscape architects, park technicians, child care providers, and parents in North America, Iran, China, and Scotland. She is also author of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape.

Julie Johnson, University of Washington

Julie Johnson is an Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Associate Professor in Architecture, and Urban Design Certificate Program faculty member at the University of Washington. Her teaching and research address civic landscapes—where we come together as neighbors and communities—and how design may support climate resilience. She is particularly interested in equitable practices and design of urban agriculture, ecologically robust contexts where children can play and learn, and healthy transportation. A licensed landscape architect in Washington, Julie received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University and a Master of City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Angela Kreutz, Deakin University

Angela Kreutz is a Lecturer in Architecture at Deakin University, Australia. She received her architectural training from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and completed her Ph.D. studies with the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her book, Children and the Environment in an Australian Indigenous Community (Routledge, 2015) is both an historical and contemporary ethnography of children and their families in Cherbourg, Australia. Angela’s interdisciplinary research within the field of children and the environment lies between architecture, anthropology and environmental psychology. Angela has researched, collaborated, and consulted with children from across the globe, including Australia, Europe and the United States.

Janet Loebach, Cornell University

Dr. Janet Loebach is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. Dr. Loebach also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Play Association (Canada), the Editorial Board of the journals Children, Youth and Environments and PsyEcology, and as the Co-Chair of the Children, Youth & Environments Network of the Environmental Design Research Association. Dr. Loebach is also the lead editor on the 2020 Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Places for Young People: Processes, Practices and Policies for Youth Inclusion.

Patsy Eubanks Owens, University of California, Davis

Patsy Eubanks Owens is Associate Dean of Human & Social Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the role of physical environments in the development, heath, and wellbeing of youth, and on youth engagement in design decisions and policy development. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and the Environmental Design Research Association.

Karen Witten, Massey University

Dr. Karen Witten is a geographer and psychologist with research interests in neighborhood design and how housing, transport, amenity access and social environments influence the everyday mobility, health and wellbeing of residents. Her work is interdisciplinary and has had a particular focus on the wellbeing of children and people with disabilities. She is a Professor of Public Health at the SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, Auckland.





Position Paper