Young People and Territoriality in British Cities

This is an exploratory study which examines the manifestations and impacts of territorial behaviour among young people in disadvantaged areas of British Cities.

Territoriality among young people has been identified as source of social exclusion and disadvantage and as one of the roots of gang behaviour in some previous studies. It has also begun to be recognised by policy makers working to improve young people’s life chances and to promote safer communities. However, until now there has been no research which has focussed on understanding territoriality in its own right.

This research examined:

  • What territoriality is, how it is experienced by young people and who is involved
  • The origins of territoriality in disadvantaged places, including the persistence of  territorial cultures, and young people's motivations for being involved in territoriality
  • The impacts of territoriality on young people’s lives including its potential to block access to opportunities, to foment violence and to act as an escalator to more serious forms of crime, including involvement in criminal gangs
  • The range of projects which aim to deter or counteract territorial behaviour
  • The public policy implications of recognising territoriality as an important social force in disadvantaged places.

It also signals that the significance of territoriality should be considered in the design of policies and programmes relating to the social exclusion of young people, community safety and neighbourhoods.





Joseph Rowntree Foundation


  • K. Kintrea, J. Bannister, J. Pickering, N. Suzuki and M. Reid Young People and Territoriality in British Cities, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008
  • K. Kintrea and N. Suzuki "Too Much Cohesion? Young People’s Territoriality in Glasgow and Edinburgh", Chapter 10 of J. Flint, and D. Robinson, (eds.) Community Cohesion in Crisis? New Dimensions of Diversity and Difference Bristol: Policy Press, 2008
  • K. Kintrea, J. Bannister and J. Pickering  ‘”It’s an area: we all represent it” : Exploring Young People’s Territorial Behaviour in British Cities’ Chapter 6 of B. Goldson (ed.)  Youth in Crisis? ‘Gangs’, Territoriality and Violence, Exeter: Willan, 2010
  • K. Kintrea, J. Bannister and J. Pickering ‘“Territorial Behaviour and Disadvantage in British Urban Neighbourhoods’, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 25 (4), pagination tbcf, 2010