UC academic leading global surveys of young people
13 March 2013
Today, over half the world's population is under 25 years old and, by 2050, 70 per cent of people will live in cities.
Today, over half the world’s population is under 25 years old and, by 2050, 70 per cent of people will live in cities.
University of Canterbury political scientist Dr Bronwyn Hayward (Social and Political Sciences) is conducting two global studies to understand young people’s needs in changing times.
Dr Hayward says while there is much policy debate about the needs of the ageing population, it is also vital New Zealand understands other global trends in energy, consumption, hopes and aspirations as a younger urban population rapidly expands.
"We need to understand these things not just for predicting future trends or markets, but for understanding the global world our young people are growing up in - a world very different from their parents and grandparents.
"I am very interested in exploring a range of ways both government and business can better support young people and I welcome the chance to work practically supporting Kiwi children and their future."
Dr Hayward has just been appointed a new trustee of the Telecom Foundation which has a particular focus on encouraging generosity and creating a better future for Kiwi children.
"I welcome the chance to work alongside a business like Telecom to think about ways we can practically apply the insights we are gaining in new research to help support young citizens here in New Zealand."
Dr Hayward co-leads two international research projects working to understand the needs of children and youth.
"The major new research project we are currently developing is a global survey of young people aged 12-25 growing up in 21 cities around the world for the UN Environment Programme with colleagues at the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group at the University of Surrey in the UK.
"The survey is supported by myself and a PhD research student Sylvia Nissen working with me here at UC in collaboration with UN Environment Programme in Paris and the team in Surrey, UK."
Dr Hayward is also a trustee of the London-based think tank, Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development, and a co-researcher of Voices for the Future, a team studying children's issues in a changing climate at the University of Oslo, Norway.
"The London Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development focuses on community needs in periods of significant environmental change or disaster while the Norwegian study is looking at young people growing up in a changing climate.
"Understanding their changing experiences and the role of governments and businesses in supporting young lives has direct lessons for New Zealand."
Dr Hayward said the challenges facing the children of Christchurch also have much to teach others around the world about how to better support young people to flourish.
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