[URBANTH-L]Research Question in Japanese Context

David Levinger levinger at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 14 07:46:15 EDT 2006

There is a new movement in the United States to get more children  
walking to school.  There has been a decline from over 60% walking 30  
years ago to under 14% walking today.  Most of the work in this area  
has focused on European initiatives.

Despite the Eurocentric orientation of the US movement, there is much  
to be learned from Japan.  In Japan, there is a very organized, yet  
normative practice of having children walk to school in self-managed  
groups.  Unfortunately, I have found no documentation of this  
practice in English.

Fortunately, I currently have a temporary employee who is Japanese  
and herself led such a "Walking School Bus" when she was in primary  
school in Japan.  Shoko is a recent Masters in Public Health graduate  
and will be returning to Japan in July.  I have been trying to  
determine who in Japan one might be able to tap for funding to  
document this phenomenon in English.

We are looking for:
(1)  a cultural anthropologist, urban studies, or sociologist in  
Japan who might be available to discuss the context of such research  
(2)  travel grants for presenting the results of this research at an  
international conference on walking and bicycling here in the US in  
the fall;
(3)  and possible sponsors for future research in Japan

If anyone on this list has urban anthropology contacts in Japan, that  
would be greatly appreciated.

A meta question that arises from this work relates to the slower  
transfer of cultural learning from Asian to the United States.  I  
wonder whether there are any good papers on this topic folks might  
point me to?

Thank you in advance,

David Levinger, PhD, PE
Executive Director
Feet First
1402 Third Ave, Suite 1121
Seattle, WA  98101
david at feetfirst.info
(206) 390-8118 (cell)

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