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On the perception of safety in low income neighbourhoods: using digital images in a stated choice experiment


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The relationship between the environment and human behaviour has been studied in certain depth. We are now fully aware that the configuration of urban space affects individual actions. For this reason, modern definitions of urbanism include not only a responsibility for the physical aspect of the city configuration but also for the potential interaction between physical space and the human activity supported by it. However, although it has long been recognized that the occurrence of crime is not indifferent to the characteristics of the space where it occurs, space management actions have become popular only recently. Their general aim is to reap the benefits of the inhibitory effects of certain socio-spatial configurations. Unfortunately, such lines of action have lacked hard data to support them. On the other hand, rather than the actual level of risk faced in a certain situation, it is the subjective assessment of such risk that affects the daily quality of life of citizens (Paz Ciudadana, 2003), and quantifying such effects is not an easy task. Two important research lines have managed to highlight the importance of urban space design in the prevention of crime; they have also identified and, to some extent, quantified the problem. The first, which originated in Canada, is known as “crime prevention through environmental design”, CPTED (Jeffery, 1977; Nasar and Upton, 1997); the second, Space Syntax (Hillier and Hanson 1984; Hillier, 2004), started in England.

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