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Project information

Project team

Tim Leibert, Verena Ott


University of Leipzig, Research Centre for Civilization Diseases

Duration of project

02/2018 – 12/2020

Funded by

Sächsische Aufbaubank

Further information

Dr Tim Leibert
Tel.: 0341 600 55-188

Verena Ott
Tel.: 0341 600 55-184

Please note

This research project is co-financed by tax revenue on the basis of the budget adopted by the members of the Saxon Landtag.

GeoEtiology – Adolescents everyday mobility and spatial perception in urban contexts

Lack of physical activity is considered a cause of civilization diseases. We investigate adolescents’ mobility routines and space appropriations in Leipzig. We want to know, how adolescents independently navigate through urban space and how they perceive and use their surroundings. The central research questions are: What are everyday routines in the activity behavior of adolescents and how do they develop in time? How can we modify mobility routines for healthier and more sustainable mobility? What are the central framework conditions for young people to actively move in and through urban spaces?

Interviews with adolescents, their parents and stakeholders are planned.

GPS tracking is the starting point for the interviews with adolescents. The actually used routes, collected as GPS data, will be contrasted with the subjective perceptions and interpretations of the adolescents. The everyday reality and practices of the adolescents will be surveyed in open interviews, especially concerning different forms of mobilities, e.g. bodily, circular, virtual mobilities. Modal choices decision making processes will be analyzed as well as unconscious routines. Here, multilocal lifestyles will play a role, e.g. when children live both with separated parents in two different neighborhoods.

The interviews with parents look at the complex social surroundings adolescents live and grow up in. The socioeconomic situation and autonomy and parental control play a role in the activity behavior – as enabling and inhibiting factors. Group discussions and interviews with stakeholders point at institutionalized structures and potentials and barriers for change.

The IfL subproject cooperates with colleagues of the LIFE Child study at the University of Leipzig. The joint project GeoEtiology is embedded in the context of children’s health and prevention of civilization diseases, especially obesity. Researchers of the Universities subproject analyze, inter alia, extensive geoinformation data and investigate on the nexus between built environment and civilization diseases. Learn more (German only)


Wex, I., Geserick, M., Leibert, T. et al. Active school transport in an urban environment:prevalence and perceived barriers. BMC Public Health 23, 557 (2023).