Professor Karen Witten, MSc, PhD.

Karen’s research interests centre on interactions between the physical characteristics of neighbourhoods and cities and the social relationships, health and sustainability-related practices of the people living in them. Recent studies have investigated social impacts of scenarios to reduce household CO2 emissions, the meaning of social and recreational travel, and neighbourhood design determinants of walking and cycling. Current work is exploring children’s and parents’ experiences of neighbourhood environments and how these experiences cohere to constrain or enable children’s independent mobility.

On behalf of the BRCSS Network (Building Capability in the Social Sciences) Karen has been involved in surveying the New Zealand social science research community about its research activities and outcomes, workforce capacity and capability building and the uptake of social science research within the policy sector.


Selected Journal Articles

Rychert, M., & Wilkins, C., & Witten, K. (2017). Issues with monitoring the safety of psychoactive products under a legal regulated market for new psychoactive substances (NPS) (‘legal highs’) in New Zealand. Drug and Alcohol Review, published online 27 Feb, doi: 10.1111/dar.12467 [Abstract]. A405

Rychert, M., Wilkins, C., Witten, K. (2017). "Lost in translation": issues with the establishment of a legal market for ‘low risk’ psychoactive products (‘legal highs’) in New Zealand. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, Published online: 02 Feb, doi: 10.1080/09687637.09682017.01282422 [Abstract]. A401

Chaudhury, M., Oliver, M., Badland, H., & Witten, K. (2017). Using the Public Open Space Attributable Index tool to assess children’s public open space use and access by independent mobility. Children’s Geographies, 15, 193-206, doi: 10.1080/14733285.14732016.11214684 [Abstract]. A391

Oliver, M., McPhee, J., Carroll, P., Ikeda, E., Mavoa, S., Mackay, L., Kearns, R., Kytta, M., Asiasiga, L., Garrett, N., Lin, J., Mackett, R., Zinn, C., Moewaka Barnes, H., Egli, V., Prendergast, K., & Witten, K. (2016). Neighbourhoods for Active Kids: Study protocol for a cross-sectional examination of neighbourhood features and children’s physical activity, active travel, independent mobility and body size. BMJ Open, 6, e013377 [Article]. A392

Oliver, M., Parker, K., Witten, K., Mavoa, S., Badland, H., Chaudury, M., & Kearns, R. (2016). Children’s out-of-school independent mobility, active travel, and physical activity: A cross-sectional examination from the Kids in the City study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13(3), 318-324 [Abstract]. A389

Ergler, C., Kearns, R., & Witten, K. (2016). Exploring children's seasonal play to promote active lifestyles in Auckland, New Zealand. Health & Place, 41, 67-77 [Article]. A388

Ivory, V., Blakely, T., Pearce, J., Witten, K., Bagheri, N., Badland, H., & Schofield, G. (2015). Could strength of exposure to the residential neighbourhood modify associations between walkability and physical activity? Social Science and Medicine, 147, 232-241. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.053 [Article]. A374

Oliver, M., Mavoa, S., Badland, H., Parker, K., Donovan, P., Kearns, R., Lin, E.-Y., & Witten, K. (2015). Associations between the neighbourhood built environment and out of school physical activity and active travel: An examination from the Kids in the City study. Health & Place, 36, 57-64. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.09.005 [Article]. A366

Badland, H., Kearns, R., Carroll, P., Oliver, M., Mavoa, S., Donovan, P., Parker, K., Chaudhury, M., Lin, J., & Witten, K. (2015). Development of a systems model to visualise the complexity of children's independent mobility. Children’s Geographies, Published online: 16 Mar 2015, doi:10.1080/14733285.14732015.11021240. A361

Badland, H., Donovan, P., Mavoa, S., Oliver, M., Chaudhury, M., & Witten, K. (2015). Assessing neighbourhood destination access for children: Development of the NDAI-C audit tool.Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 42, doi:10.1068/b140009p. A362


Selected Books and book chapters

Kearns, R., Carroll, P., Asiasiga, L., & Witten, K. (2015). The variegated nature of play for Auckland children: banal landscapes and the promotion of wellbeing. In J. Horton & B. Evans (Eds.),Play, Recreation, Health and Well Being (in Volume 9 of Skelton, T. (editor-in-chief), Geographies of Children and Young People). Singapore: Springer. SB63

Carroll, P., Witten, K., & Kearns, R. (2015). Kids in the City: everyday life in inner-city Auckland. In C. Freeman & P. Tranter (Eds.), Risk, Protection, Provision and Policy (in Volume 12 of Skelton, T. (editor-in-chief), Geographies of Children and Young People). Singapore: Springer Springer Science+Business Media. SB62