Janet Loebach is the Evalyn Edwards Milman Assistant Professor in Child Development in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis. Dr. Loebach's academic, professional practice and advocacy efforts focus primarily on three areas: (1) the sustainable development of inclusive and child/youth-friendly environments and communities; (2) examining the impacts of children's everyday built and natural environments on their play and learning behaviors, mobility, and healthy development; and (3) the assessment and refinement of participatory approaches and research tools for examining the environments of young people, and effectively integrating youth into community research, design and planning initiatives. This work includes environment-behavior analyses at the community- and regional-level, as well as in individual settings such as parks, trails, schools, care facilities, community hubs, and play spaces. Much of her recent work has focused on outdoor and/or neighborhood-based play and mobility, and the assessment of outdoor and natural play spaces. Dr. Loebach's work often integrates child-led and/or digitally-enhanced methods such as behavior mapping, qualitative GIS, GPS tracking, participatory photography and videography, walkalong interviews, and place mapping. In addition to children and youth, Dr. Loebach is also interested in intergenerational spaces and age-friendly environments for older adults, as well as environmental settings for youth and older adults with physical and/or cognitive challenges.
Dr. Loebach received a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering & Society from McMaster University (Canada), a Master of Environmental Design from the School of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University (Canada), and a PhD in Children's, Urban and Health Geographies from the Department of Geography at Western University (Canada). She was awarded Post-Doctoral Fellowships at both the Young Lives Research Laboratory at the University of PEI, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Institute for Mental Health Policy Research. She is a registered Professional Engineer (Ontario) and the Principal Consultant for Thrive Design Consulting. Dr. Loebach currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Play Association (Canada), and as the Co-Chair of the Children, Youth & Environments Network of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). She also sits on the Editorial Board of the journals: Children, Youth & Environments; PsyEcology; and Cities & Health. Dr. Loebach is also the lead editor on the 2020 Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Places for Young People: Processes, Practices and Policies for Youth Inclusion.
• Loebach, J., Owens, P., Little, S. & Cox, A. (Eds.). (2020) Handbook for designing public spaces for young people: Processes, practices and policies for youth inclusion.
Refereed Journal Articles
• Loebach, J., Sanches, M., Jaffe, J., Elton-Marshall, T. (2021). Paving the way for neighborhood play: Examining socio-environmental barriers to community-based outdoor play. International Journal of Environmental Reearch & Public Health, 18, 3617. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18073617.
• Loebach, J. & Cox, A. (2020). Tool for Observing Play Outdoors (TOPO): A new typology for capturing children's play behaviors in outdoor environments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Special Issue: The Environment and Children's Health, 17, 5611, doi:10.3390/ijerph17155611.
• Loebach, J. & Tilleczek, K. (2019). Keyboard warriors? Visualising technology and well-being with, for and by Indigenous youth through digital stories. Visual Studies, published online November 25, 2019 ahead of print. doi:10.1080/1472586X.2019.1691050
• Loebach, J. & Gilliland, J. (2019). Examining social and built environment factors influencing children’s independent use of their neighbourhoods and the experience of local settings as child-friendly. Journal of Planning Education and Research, published online March 5, 2019 ahead of print. doi:10.1177/0739456X19828444
• Gilliland, J., Maltby, M., Xu, X., Luginaah, I., Loebach, J. & Shah, T. (2019). Is Active Travel a Breath of Fresh Air? Examining Children's Exposure to Air Pollution During the School Commute. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 29, 51-57. doi:10.1016/j.sste.2019.02.004
• Cox, A., Loebach, J. & Little, S. (2018). Understanding the Nature Play Milieu: Using Behavior Mapping to Investigate Children's Play in Outdoor and Nature Playspaces. Children, Youth and Environments Special Issue: Unleashing the Power of Play, 28(2), 232-261. doi:10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.2.0232
• McKendrick, J.H., Loebach, J. & Casey, T. (2018). Realizing Article 31 through General Comment 17: overcoming challenges and the quest for an optimum play environment. Children, Youth and Environments Special Issue: Unleashing the Power of Play, 28(2), 1-11. doi:10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.2.0001
• McKendrick, J.H., Loebach, J. & Casey, T. (2018). Reflections on the challenges understood to compromise optimum play environments. Children, Youth and Environments Special Issue: Unleashing the Power of Play, 28(2), 262-273. doi: 10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.2.0262
• Loebach, J. & Gilliland, J. (2016). Neighbourhood play on the endangered list: Examining patterns in children’s local activity and mobility using GPS monitoring and qualitative GIS. Children’s Geographies, 14 (5), 573-589. doi:10.1080/14733285.2016.1140126.
• Tilleczek, K. & Loebach, J. (2015). Research goes to the cinema: The veracity of videography with, for and by youth. Research in Comparative & International Education (Special Issue: The Potential of Videography in Comparative Education), 10 (3), pp. 354-366. doi:10.1177/1745499915581084.
• Loebach, J. & Gilliland, J. (2014). Free range kids? Examining socio-environmental factors influencing children’s use of their neighbourhood activity spaces. Environment & Behavior, 48 (3), 421-453. doi:10.1177/0013916514543177.
• Glen, K., Thomas, H., Loebach, J., Gilliland, J. & Gobert, C. (2013). Fruit and vegetable consumption among urban Canadian schoolchildren living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhood. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 74(3), 114-118. doi:10.3148/74.3.2013.114
• Gilliland, J., Rangel, C., Healy, M., Tucker, P., Loebach, J., Hess, P., He, M., Irwin, J., & Wilk, P. (2012). Linking childhood obesity to the built environment: a multi-level analysis of home and school neighbourhood factors associated with body mass index. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103 (9), Supp 3, S15-S21. doi:10.1007/BF03403830
• Gilliland, J., Maltby, M., Loebach, J., Xu, X., Mates, A. & Luginaah, I. (2011). Emerging methodologies for examining environmental influences on children’s exposure to air pollution. International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Abstracts, 2011 (1). doi:10.1289/isee.2011.01955
• Glen, K., Thomas, H., Loebach, J., Gilliland, J. & Gobert, C. (2011). Fruit and vegetable consumption patterns among junior elementary students in a London, Ontario neighbourhood. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism Abstracts, 36(3):451.
• Gobert, C., Glen, K., Thomas, H., Loebach, J., and Gilliland, J. (2011) Food consumption practices and body weights among senior elementary students in a London, Ontario neighbourhood. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism Abstracts, 36(3):452.
• Loebach, J. & Gilliland, J. (2010). Child-Led Tours to Uncover Children's Perceptions and Use of Neighborhood Environments. Children, Youth & Environments, 20(1), 53-90. doi:10.7721/chilyoutenvi.20.1.0052
• Yantzi, N. & Loebach, J. (under review).Children's geographies: Playing with participatory methods. In M.W. Rosenberg, S. Lovell & S.E. Coen (Eds.) Handbook of methodologies in human geography. New York, NY: Routledge.
• Loebach, J. (2020). ‘Green Direction’: Integrating youth into the design and building of public outdoor playspaces. In J. Loebach, A. Cox, S. Little & P. Eubanks Owens (Eds.) Designing public spaces for young people: Processes, practices and policies for youth inclusion. New York: Routledge.
• Loebach, J., Cox, A. & Little, S. (2020). Behavior mapping to support the development of youth-inclusive public spaces. In J. Loebach, A. Cox, S. Little & P. Eubanks Owens (Eds.) Designing public spaces for young people: Processes, practices and policies for youth inclusion. New York: Routledge.
• Campbell, V., Tilleczek, K. & Loebach, J. (2019). Knowing Youth and Technology: Emerging Methods. In K. Tilleczek & V. Campbell (Eds.) Youth in the Digital Age: Paradox, Promise, Predicament. New York: Routledge.
• Kreutz, A., Loebach, J. & Nakai Kidd, A. (2018). The Indigenous architecture of Early Learning Centres: International comparative case studies from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In E. Grant, K. Greenlop, A.L. Reftiti & D.J. Glenn (Eds.) Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture. Singapore: Springer Nature.
• Loebach, J. & Derr, V. (2018). Putting it together and taking action: Participatory Schoolyard Design (Case Study). In V. Derr, L. Chawla & M. Mintzer (Eds). Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities. Oakland, CA: New Village Press.
• Elton-Marshall, T., Loebach, J., Wijesinga, R., Veselka, L. & Pradeep, B. (2018). Outdoor Play Among Students in the Thames Valley Board: Preliminary Findings. London, Ontario: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Lay Report).
• Loebach, J. (2016). Securing a future for early years in the Waterloo Region District School Board: The impact of outdoor playspace renovations on children’s play opportunities and behaviours. Toronto: Evergreen.
• Loebach, J. (2015). The benefits and challenges of online or mobile interviewing with youth. Charlottetown, PEI: Young Lives Research Lab, University of Prince Edward Island. Available at katetilleczek.ca
• Loebach, J. & Madigan, R. (2015). Collecting social media data for qualitative research. Charlottetown, PEI: Young Lives Research Lab, University of Prince Edward Island. Available at katetilleczek.ca
• Loebach, J. (2013.) Children’s neighbourhood geographies: Examining children’s perception and use of their neighbourhood environments for healthy activity. London: University of Western Ontario.
• Loebach, J. (2011). The Magical Park of Aviacion: Lessons from a participatory design project with the children of Aviacion, Peru. PlayRights , Vol 11 (2). Available at http://ipaworld.org/category/play-resources/playrights-magazine/
- Owner & Primary Consultant for Thrive Design Consulting
- Co-Chair of Children, Youth & Environments Network, Environmental Design Research Association
- Editorial Board Member for the journals Children, Youth & Environments and PsyEcology: Bilingual Journal of Environmental Psychology
- Board Member, International Play Association (Canada); Chair, IPA Canada Advocacy & Partnerships Committee
- Professional Engineers Ontario
- Environmental Design Research Association
- International Play Association
- Canadian Psychological Association - Environmental Psychology Section
Dr. Loebach teaches the following courses in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis:
DEA 3550: Research Methods in Human-Environment Relations (Spring)
DEA 5700: Designing Age Friendly Environments (Spring)
DEA 6200: Studies in Human Environment Relations (Fall)
Each of these courses is open to and welcomes students from other departments and programs.
- PhD, Geography (Children’s Geographies; Health & Urban Geographies) Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario (Canada)
- Master of Environmental Design Studies (MEDS) School of Architecture & Planning, Dalhousie University (Canada)
- Bachelor of Civil Engineering & Society (B.Eng.Soc) Faculty of Engineering / Engineering & Society Program, McMaster University (Canada)
Serves on the Mann Library Committee
More information on Dr. Loebach''s design and research consulting work can be found at: www.thrivedesignconsulting.com
A website for Dr. Loebach's Cornell research lab will be available soon.