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Disorder and perceived risk: their influence in perceived safety

Acuna-Rivera, Marcela, Uzzell, David and Brown, J (2008) Disorder and perceived risk: their influence in perceived safety In: 20 International Association for People-Environment Studies Conference on "Urban diversities, biosphere and well-being", 2008-07-28 - 2008-08-01, Rome, Italy.

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Most of the conceptual and empirical approaches that have investigated the effects that physical design and social factors have in people’s perception of safety in residential neighbourhoods (Newman 1972, 1996; Taylor and Harrel, 1996; Skogan, 1990; Van Beek Gert, 2004) do not consider risk perception as a key component of place evaluation, which is believed to significantly account for perceived safety. Research findings suggest that disorder is more strongly related to risk perception and that the latter is a better predictor of fear of crime and perceived safety in residential neighbourhoods. It seems that perceived risk is one of several important components in explaining fear (Ferraro, 1995; Jackson, 2002; Wilcox and Land 1996). A study with 120 students from a British University, was conducted to explore the role that risk perception might have in the (dis)order and perceived safety relationship. Three photographs from a deprived place in England were used. A panoramic view of The Actual Place, with no people, was taken at daytime. By modifying its physical features, two variations of the place using a computer design programme were created: A Degraded Place and an Improved Place. A questionnaire was also developed in order to measure perceived physical and social disorder, risk perception and perceived safety. Results showed that photo manipulations made to the actual place did work as they created three places with significantly different levels of physical and social (dis)order. Only few significant differences by gender were found. Using multiple regression, it was found that risk perception is a better and stronger predictor of perceived safety than perceived (dis)order, especially in the degraded and the actual places. Overall, it seems that the level of degradation is important in providing cues about the place and people living there, although there are other psycho-social factors that make people think about how vulnerable they are, their ability to face the risk and the disposition they might have to accept or reject the risk. Risk perception, as an intuitive and a subjective evaluation of the hazard, helps people to predict the level of danger they may face, and as a consequence, accept or reject the danger.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Paper)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Brown, J
Date : 29 July 2008
Contributors :
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 23 Jun 2017 11:45
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 16:37

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