Social Geographies at Play: Mapping the Spatial Politics of Community-Based Youth Sport Participation
Keywords:community-based youth sport, cultural geography, geographic information systems,
Organized youth sports programs (YSP) provide opportunities for participation in physical activity, and represent an important part of the broader public health agenda in the U.S. YSP not only provide physiological health benefits through active participation, but also promote social relationships within communities. In this study, we (1) investigated participants’ travel to access YSP located in neighborhoods historically delineated by an over/under-representation of socio-economic and/or racial diversity; and (2) examined the neighborhood demographics for those YSP participants who traveled the most/least to participate. Five years of demographic and GIS visualization data from participants in a publically-provisioned youth sport league network were analyzed. Significant differences were found between the travel distances of participants in different sports, and between the travel distances of participants from neighborhoods with different racial and/or socio-economic composition. This research expands understanding of the potential segregation effects of community-based YSP for various stakeholder groups.
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