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Gender, Place & Culture (2007)
This paper explores the complex relationship between transgendered people and cities in the USA, and, in particular, their relationship with queer spaces within those cities. Some have argued that queer spaces occur at the margins of society and constitute a safe haven for LGBT oppressed by the hetero-normative nature of urban areas. Data from a survey of 149 transgendered individuals indicate that although queer spaces provide a measure of protection for gender variant people, the gendered nature of these spaces results in continued high levels of harassment and violence for this population. The author argues that the strongly gendered dimensions of these spaces suggests that a discursive revisioning of gender is needed to create more transgender friendly urban spaces.
Environment and behavior (1988)
This study examines elderly public housing residents' fear and perceptions of the local crime problem. Based upon hypotheses proposed in Newman's theory of defensible space (1972), it was predicted that (a) high-rise tenants are more fearful and perceive the crime problem as greater than do tenants of low-rise buildings and (b) the negative effects of the high-rise are reduced when older residents are segregated from younger tenants. The analysis of survey responses by 945 elderly tenants nationwide indicated that building height had a significant effect upon reactions to crime. Unexpectedly, however, fear was lower among high-rise dwellers even though those who were segregated within these buildings assessed the local crime problem as more serious. These effects were not mediated by the incidence of crime on-site nor the elderly's victimization experience. The implications of these findings for the defensible space model of fear are discussed.
Journal of Travel Research (2016)
The success of a city’s retail core is largely dependent on the composition and organization of its merchant constituents. Not only should the price-point and products of a city’s retail align with its resident and visitor demographics, but the stores should be strategically balanced to maximize consumer spending and interest. Heritage destinations dependent on the tourism market should pay special attention to this issue, assuring their visitors a valuable shopping experience while simultaneously preserving the destination’s cultural appeal. This case study considers the rapidly evolving shopping district of Charleston, South Carolina, focusing specifically on the retail core’s recent influx of chain merchants to what was once predominantly a local main street. An historical account, paired with and an in-depth survey of merchants, is presented. The research builds upon previous studies that have considered the issue of merchant mix from the perspective of the city’s stakeholders, tourists and residents.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (1993)
Since the early 1900's when internal open spaces became common features of English new towns and American subdivisions patterned after Radburn, planners have assumed that internal parks are desirable features in subdivision planning. However, developers in the United States have in general failed to include open spaces within new subdivisions, thus raising questions about their real economic benefits. This paper examines those benefits within the context of a Radburn-style subdivision in Dallas. Using survey and sales data, the results indicate that homeowners value the open space - both those who live directly on the internal greenbelts and those who do not. However, where the open space causes a reduction in private backyard space, homeowners do not appear to value public open space as highly as private space.
Urban sociologists and criminologists have maintained housing’s importance in providing individuals with a sense of security within their neighborhood. Yet it remains unclear whether all types of housing provide this sense of safety in the same way. This article provides an analysis of the relationship between dwelling type and fear of crime. Data from the 2009 Canadian General Social Survey are analyzed. Results suggest that living in a multiunit dwelling has no statistically significant impact on fear of crime in the neighborhood; however, individuals living in high-rise and low-rise residences are less likely to be fearful of crime while at home in the evening. One possible explanation for these findings is the fortress effect: High-rise buildings isolate individuals in physical space, providing security in the home, and creating physical and social distance from the rest of the neighborhood. The implications of these findings are discussed.
This study systematically examines the physical context of crime on urban residential blocks. A conceptual framework for understanding the relationship of the objective permanent (defensible space) and transient (territorial markers and incivilities) physical environment and the subjective environment to crime is presented. Forty-eight blocks were selected from three working-class urban neighborhoods. Data were obtained from four sources: a telephone survey of 1081 randomly sampled residents, a 15-month follow-up survey (n = 471), block-level police records of 1190 crime complaints, and the Block Booster Environmental Inventory--a new procedure for objectively measuring physical signs of disorder, territoriality and the built environment of 576 homes on all 48 blocks. Five different indicators of block crime were used: perceived crime and delinquency, reported serious and 'quality-of-life' crimes, and surveyed victimization rate. All data were aggregated to the block level. Although the various measures of crime were not consistently intercorrelated, objective environmental items correlated more strongly and consistently with the crime indicators than did the subjective environment, even after controlling for the demographic profile of the block. Defensible space features of the built environment, demographics and, to a lesser extent, the transient environment (disorder and territoriality) contributed significant variance to a series of regression equations explaining up to 60% of the variance in block crime. Implications for environmental criminology and for community policing and crime prevention are discussed.
European Sociological Review (2007)
This study investigates the degree to which community can be found in Dutch neighbourhoods and attempts to explain why there is more community in some neighbourhoods than in others. We apply a perspective on community which assumes that people create communities with the expectation to realize some important well-being goals. Conditions that account for the creation of a local community are specified, i.e. the opportunity, ease, and motivation to do so. These conditions are realized when (i) neighbourhoods have more meeting places; (ii) neighbours are, given their resources and interests, motivated to invest in local relationships; (iii) neighbours have few relations outside of the neighbourhood, and (iv) neighbours are mutually interdependent. Data from the Survey of Social Networks of the Dutch on 1,007 respondents in 168 neighbourhoods are used. Results show that there is a sizeable amount of community in Dutch neighbourhoods and that all the four conditions contribute to the explanation, while interdependencies among neighbours have the strongest impact on the creation of community.
Social Forces (2013)
In this article, we extend research on neighborhood social isolation by (1) examining residents of disadvantaged and advantaged communities and (2) considering the character of neighborhoods where people conduct routine activities away from home. We contend that social isolation is experienced by residents of both highly disadvantaged and highly advantaged neighborhoods because the two groups spend time in largely nonoverlapping parts of the city. Individual and neighborhood race-ethnic dynamics exacerbate such social isolation. Data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey show that social isolation is experienced by residents of all areas of the city, whether highly disadvantaged or advantaged. African Americans, Latinos and residents of areas with many Latinos suffer additional penalties in the social isolation of disadvantage in where they conduct routine activities.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2017)
The natural environment contributes to human wellbeing in a variety of ways, including providing outdoor recreation venues and underpinning cultural practices. Understanding whether the diversity of human-nature experiences significantly relate to overall subjective wellbeing, however, is rarely explored. Using results from 4418 respondents to an online survey conducted in Washington's Puget Sound region, we describe the relationship between overall life satisfaction and diverse metrics of how people engage with the natural environment. We found that eleven of the thirteen tested metrics had a small but positive correlation to overall life satisfaction and specific groupings of environment-specific social indicators were internally reliable constructs that predicted life satisfaction. These included: Sense of Place, Outdoor Activities, Good Governance, Social and Cultural Activities, Psychological Well- being, and Resource Access. This research empirically demonstrates that a variety of mechanisms for engaging the natural environment significantly contribute to overall subjective wellbeing.
Urban Studies (1988)
Contemporary provision of open spaces within cities rests largely on professional assumptions about its significance in the lives of residents. This paper presents results from the Greenwich Open Space Project which used qualitative research with four, in-depth discussion groups to determine the design of a questionnaire survey of households in the borough. The research shows that the most highly valued open spaces are those which enhance the positive qualities of urban life: variety of opportunities and physical settings; sociability and cultural diversity. The findings lend some support to the approach of the urban conservation movement but present a fundamental challenge to the open-space hierarchy embodied in the Greater London Development Plan. The Project identifies a great need for diversity of both natural settings and social facilities within local areas and highlights the potential of urban green space to improve the quality of life of all citizens.
Urban Design and Planning (2016)
Gulf cities have witnessed rapid urban growth where new migrant communities from various cultural backgrounds
have been evolving over the last two decades. This paper explores perceptions of liveable urban environments in
Qatar’s capital city, Doha. An attitude survey of 280 migrant professionals from different cultural backgrounds
engaged in the high service sector was conducted. A profile for each cultural group including westerners, middle
easterners, Indians and Southeast Asians was developed to analyse the way in which the key liveability factors are
perceived. Factors were classified into two overarching categories: urban life and urban spaces. Urban life category
included aspects that pertain to traffic and movement experience, residential satisfaction, shopping experience,
and satisfaction regarding leisure and service spaces. Urban space category included attractiveness, iconicity and
familiarity, which were attitudinally explored in four public open spaces. The inquiry has uncovered a number of
concerns related to traffic experience, housing quality, parking spaces, school facilities and shopping opportunities.
This may stymie the city’s global attractiveness success on the global stage while warranting the need for addressing
liveability as a part of future development plans.
Urban Studies (2010)
Research has identified several factors that affect fear of crime in public space. However, the extent to which gender moderates the effectiveness of fear-reducing measures has received little attention. Using data from the Chicago Transit Authority Customer Satisfaction Survey of 2003, this study aims to understand whether train transit security practices and service attributes affect men and women differently. Findings indicate that, while the presence of video cameras has a lower effect on women's feelings of safety compared with men, frequent and on-time service matters more to male passengers. Additionally, experience with safety-related problems affects women significantly more than men. Conclusions discuss the implications of the study for theory and gender-specific policies to improve perceptions of transit safety.
New media & society (2010)
Contemporary mobile-phone technology is becoming increasingly similar around the world. However, cultural differences between countries may also shape mobile-phone practices. This study examines a group of variables connected to mobile-phone use among university students in Sweden, the USA and Japan. Key cultural issues addressed are attitudes towards quiet in public space, personal use of public space and tolerance of self-expression. Measures include the appropriateness of using mobiles in various social contexts and judgments of what respondents like most and like least about having a mobile phone. Analysis revealed a number of culturally associated differences, as well as a shared conflicting attitude towards the advantages and disadvantages of reachability by mobile phone.
American Journal of Sociology (2017)
Drawing on the social disorganization tradition and the social ecological perspective of Jane Jacobs, the authors hypothesize that neighborhoods composed of residents who intersect in space more frequently as a result of routine activities will exhibit higher levels of collective efficacy, intergenerational closure, and social network interaction and exchange. They develop this approach employing the concept of ecological networks—two-mode networks that indirectly link residents through spatial overlap in routine activities. Using data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, they find evidence that econetwork extensity (the average proportion of households in the neighborhood to which a given household is tied through any location) and intensity (the degree to which household dyads are characterized by ties through multiple locations) are positively related to changes in social organization between 2000–2001 and 2006–2008. These findings demonstrate the relevance of econetwork characteristics—heretofore neglected in research on urban neighborhoods—for consequential dimensions of neighborhood social organization.
URBAN DESIGN International (2015)
People's engagement with public open spaces is complex and affected by different factors. The importance of people's needs differs according to their age groups. In this respect, what this article aims to unveil is the priority of needs in public open spaces across age groups. A self-administered questionnaire survey collected the opinions of 400 people aged 13 years and above using the time-interval sampling method. The results revealed that the strongest inverse relationship existed between age and social needs. This illustrated that old people are less likely to carry out social interaction with other groups or to explore public open spaces compared to younger people. In turn, old people are more concerned about their physical and environmental needs. Exploring the dichotomies between the needs of old and young people highlights the intergenerational conflicts that challenge urban designers and decision makers to ameliorate the design and management of future public open spaces.
City & Community (2003)
What is the Internet doing to local community? Analysts have debated about
whether the Internet is weakening community by leading people away from meaningful in-person contact; transforming community by creating new forms of community online; or enhancing community by adding a new means of connecting with existing relationships. They have been especially concerned that the globe-spanning capabilities of the Internet can limit local involvements. Survey and ethnographic data from a “wired suburb” near Toronto show that high-speed, always-on access to the Internet, coupled with a local online discussion group, transforms and enhances neighboring. The Internet especially supports increased contact with weaker ties. In comparison to nonwired residents of the same suburb, more neighbors are known and chatted with, and they are more geographically dispersed around the suburb. Not only did the Internet support neighboring, it also facilitated discussion and mobilization around local issues.
American Sociological Review (2004)
Using data from a national survey of public attitudes toward homeless people, this paper evaluates the applicability of the contact hypothesis to in-group/out-group relations that fail to meet the optimal conditions specified in the contact literature. Past efforts are extended by (1) moving beyond face-to-face encounters to consider multiple types of in-group exposure to a highly stigmatized out-group, (2) examining a variety of attitudinal outcomes, and (3) incorporating community context as a possible antecedent of such outcomes. Even after taking selection and social desirability processes into account, all types of exposure are found to affect public attitudes in the predicted (favorable) direction. Moreover, the size of the local homeless population—our primary measure of context—shapes opportunities for most forms of exposure and thus influences attitudes indirectly. These findings suggest that the scope of the contact hypothesis needs to be widened rather than narrowed.
American Journal of Sociology (1999)
This article assesses the sources and consequences of public disorder. Based on the videotaping and systematic rating of more than 23,000 street segments in Chicago, highly reliable scales of social and physical disorder for 196 neighborhoods are constructed. Census data, police records, and an independent survey of more than 3,500 residents are then integrated to test a theory of collective efficacy and structural constraints. Defined as cohesion among residents combined with shared expectations for the social control of public space, collective efficacy explains lower rates of crime and observed disorder after controlling neighborhood structural characteristics. Collective efficacy is also linked to lower rates of violent crime after accounting for disorder and the reciprocal effects of violence. Contrary to the “broken windows” theory, however, the relationship between public disorder and crime is spurious except perhaps for robbery.
Annals of Tourism Research (2003)
In many communities tourists and residents share shopping spaces. These common areas offer a setting for understanding how the host and guest populations utilize and perceive a leisure locale at one point in the tourism lifecycle. An investigation of tourists and residents of a US city explored the use of and attitudes towards the traditional shopping district. Four segments were developed based on whether the consumer was a tourist or a local and whether this person was a heavy or light user of the shopping place. Findings demonstrate that information from these four groups enhances understanding of tourism lifecycle models.
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (2009)
This study examines the extent to which specific social and environmental objectives have been achieved in the new urbanist community of Orenco Station (Portland, Oregon). House-level surveys were conducted in Orenco Station, as well as a traditional suburb and two long- established urban neighborhoods. Survey data reveal high levels of social interaction in the new urbanist community, as compared to the comparison neighborhoods. The analysis also reveals a higher level of walking, and an increase in the occasional use of mass transit, in the new urbanist community. However, the majority of residents in all four neighborhoods (including the new urbanist neighborhood) rely on single occupancy vehicles for their regular commute. In sum, this study shows that Orenco Station is very effective in achieving its social objectives, modestly effective in encouraging waling and the occasional use of mass transit–but not very effective in increasing primary reliance on mass transit for commuting.