Professor Robin Kearns

MA (Auck.), PhD (McMaster)

Professor of Geography

School of Environment, University of Auckland


Robin has expertise in a range of qualitative methods and has applied these over the past 20 years in studies of health services and health determinants. His interests centre on the role of place in shaping health experience. Current research projects include work on: investigating the effects of proposed residential developments on coastal experience; the links between neighbourhood design and physical activity (especially for children); housing issues for older people; and the place of activism in influencing urban change. He has served on the Public Health Research Committee of the Health Research Council and the Board of the Centre for Housing Research, the National Health Committee and the Public Health Advisory Committee.

Robin is a researcher for the Resilient Urban Futures programme, looking at residential choice and community formation.

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Development of a systems model to visualise the complexity of children's independent mobility Children's Geographies, 2016, 14:1
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Kids in the city: Children's use and experiences of urban neighbourhoods in Auckland, New ZealandJournal of Urban Design, June 2015
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Urban inclusion as wellbeing: Exploring children's accounts of confronting diversity on inner city streets Social Science and Medicine, 2015, 133, 349-357
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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, 2015, 36, 57-64
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The societal costs and benefits of commuter bicycling: Simulating the effects of specific policies using system dynamics modelingEnviron Health Perspect. (2014)
Environmental and socio-demographic associates of children's active transport to school: A cross-sectional investigation from the URBAN StudyInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11:70, 2014
What constitutes a trip? Examining child journey attributes using GPS and self-reportChildren’s Geographies, 12:2, 249-256 (2014)
New Zealand parents' understandings of the intergenerational decline in children's independent outdoor play and active travelChildren's Geographies, 11:2, 2013
Feeling for the coast: The place of emotion in resistance to residential developmentSocial & Cultural Geography, 13:8, 2012
Unpacking stored and storied knowledge: elicited biographies of activism in mental healthHealth & Place 17, 7-16, 2011
Examining public open spaces by neighbourhood- level walkability and deprivationJournal of Physical Activity & Health 7, 818-824, 2010
Walking school buses in the Auckland region: A longitudinal assessmentTransport Policy 17, 1-8, 2010
“It'sa gestalt experience”: Landscape values and development pressure in Hawke's Bay, New ZealandGeoforum 41, 435-446, 2010
Exploring social mobilities: Narratives of walking and driving in Auckland, New ZealandUrban Studies 45(13): 2829-2848 (2008)
Bringing health home: Householder and provider perspectives on the Healthy Housing programme in AucklandNew Zealand Social Science & Medicine 66, 1185-1196 (2008)
Nuances of neighbourhood: Children’s perceptions of the space between home and school in Auckland, New ZealandGeoforum 38, 614-627 (2007)
Culture/Place/HealthRoutledge, London (2002)