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Social Forces (1979)
This research examines the relationship between the perception and fear of crime on the one hand and neighborhood cohesion, social activity, and affect for the community on the other, using survey data collected from interviews with a sample of residents of a western Canadian city. The hypotheses that the perception of increased crime and the fear of crime would be inversely related to neighborhood cohesion and social activity were not supported. But as hypothesized, the fear of crime was negatively related to affect for the community. And the prediction that the experience of actual victimization would not affect these hypothesized relationships was supported. When various social and residential variables were included with fear of crime in a multiple regression to predict community affect, low fear and older age were found to result in greater affect both for the neighborhood and the city. In addition, females and the less well-educated had more affect for the city. An exploration of possible interaction effects between fear of crime and the social and residential variables did not yield any significant results.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2010)
The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of place attachment to predict place-specific and general pro-environment behavioural intentions. The study sample (n 1⁄4 355) consisted of visitors to a Canadian national park, Point Pelee National Park. The place attachment scale utilized in this study was designed to measure three subdimensions: place identity, place dependence, and place affect. Explor- atory factor analysis of data measured by these scales revealed two place attachment subdimensions. Place affect, an individual’s emotions and feelings for a place, acted as a more generalized or pervasive phenomenon. Place affect items loaded on both the place identity (an individual’s cognitive assessment of a place) and place dependence (an individual’s functional assessment of a place). Structural equation modeling confirmed the strength of place attachment’s ability to predict place-related pro-environment intentions. It also identified place attachment’s prediction of pro-environment behavioural intensions related to everyday life. Place identity mediated the effects of place dependence in predicting pro- environment intentions. Further research which utilizes in-depth and longitudinal case studies is sug- gested to explore the role of place-specific emotion and feelings, as well as place identity in fostering environmentally-responsible action as these factors are theorized to play an important role in promoting pro-environmental behaviour. Studies of place attachment to everyday settings rather than iconic national parks are also called for.
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.
Environment and Behavior (2016)
This article investigates the impact of the running environment on perceived satisfaction, restoration, and running participation based on a questionnaire distributed to 1,581 novice runners. The most frequently experienced impediments on running routes are poor lighting, unleashed dogs, and encounters with cyclists and cars. Regression analyses reveal that attractiveness and restorativeness are positively associated with the quality of the running surface and running in parks or outside towns and negatively by running on public roads in town, by running in larger cities (>250,000 inhabitants), and by other road users. However, attractiveness and restorativeness of running routes play only a minor role in the decision of how frequently to run. Practical considerations (proximity, threats) appear to have a larger impact on running frequency. Importantly, the most frequently mentioned impediments (poor lighting, cars, unleashed dogs) do not affect running frequency, whereas infrequent impediments (threats by other people) significantly affect running frequency.
City & Community (2003)
Concerns have been expressed that Internet use may affect social participation and involvement in the local community. Internet use can be viewed as a time-consuming activity, and it may come at the expense of face-to-face activities. The time people devote to using the Internet might replace time spent on neighborly relations and community involvement. However, the use of computer-mediated communication in geographically-based communities might also increase face-to-face communication and even solve some of the problems associated with decreasing participation and involvement in the local community. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between membership in a geographically-based mailing list and locally based social ties. A web-based survey of subscribers to two suburban mailing lists in Israel was conducted to investigate the relationship between membership in a mailing list and neighborhood social ties, social ties in the extended community, and the movement from online to face-to-face relationships. It was found that although membership on the mailing list did not affect the extent of neighborhood interactions, it increased the number of individuals a participant knew in the community. Online relationships with members of the local community proved likely to change into face-to-face relationships. The results imply that community networking increases social involvement and participation not in the immediate neighborhood but in the extended community and serves to complement traditional channels of communication.
Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability (2011)
Using surveys collected from 10 major metropolitan cities across the world, this article examines the factors that affect the extent to which people feel connected to others who live in their neighborhood and feel proud and satisfied with life in their cities. The cities included in the analysis are: New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Toronto, Milan, Berlin, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. We find that certain aspects of the built environment, the conditions of the public sphere, and the extent of positive social networks in the city are critically important for understanding residents’ connections to each other and to their cities. Our findings provide insights for policy makers and planners concerned with making cities viable and livable.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2010)
This paper begins by reviewing a range of recent work by geographers conceptualising buildings less as solid objects and more as performances. Buildings, it is argued, are not given but produced, as various materials are held together in specific assemblages by work of various kinds. This has led to a range of studies looking at the diverse sorts of work that make buildings cohere: the political institutions they are embedded in, the material affordances of their non-human components, the discourses surrounding particular kinds of buildings, and, in particular, the experiencing of buildings by their human inhabitants, users and visitors. However, this experiencing has been poorly theorised. Those geographers inspired by actor network approaches to buildings acknowledge human experiences, but in very limited ways; while those geographers inspired more by affect theory evoke the 'feelings' that buildings may provoke but evacuate human subjectivity from their accounts of buildings' performances. Through a case study of two buildings, this paper argues that both approaches are flawed in their uninterest in the human, and proposes that more attention be paid to (at least) three aspects of human feeling: the feel of buildings, feelings in buildings and feelings about buildings.
New media & society (2005)
Cellphones provide a unique opportunity to examine how new media both reflect and affect the social world. This study suggests that people map their understanding of common social rules and dilemmas onto new technologies. Over time, these interactions create and reflect a new social landscape. Based upon a year-long observational field study and in-depth interviews, this article examines cellphone usage from two main perspectives: how social norms of interaction in public spaces change and remain the same; and how cellphones become markers for social relations and reflect tacit pre-existing power relations. Informed by Goffman's concept of cross talk and Hopper's caller hegemony, the article analyzes the modifications, innovations and violations of cellphone usage on tacit codes of social interactions.
Landscape and Urban Planning (2007)
Four urban public spaces, representing various designs and microclimates, were investigated in Gothenburg, Sweden, in order to estimate how weather and microclimate affect people in urban outdoor environments. The research strategy was both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary and included scientists from three disciplines: architecture, climatology and psychology. The project is based on common case studies carried out during four seasons, including measurements of meteorological variables, interviews and observations of human activity at each place. Multiple regression analysis of meteorological and behavioural data showed that air temperature, wind speed and clearness index (cloud cover) have a significant influence on people’s assessments of the weather, place perceptions and place-related attendance. The results support the arguments in favour of employing climate sensitive planning in future urban design and planning projects, as the physical component of a place can be designed to influence the site-specific microclimate and consequently people’s place-related attendance, perceptions and emotions.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (2013)
This study compares community-park design and residents' perceptions of safety in two subdivision communities in The Woodlands, Texas. The communities were built following two different planning approaches—the ecological approach and the conventional approach. Surveys have shown that residents generally feel safer in community parks built according to the latter approach. Using landscape metrics and home-to-park proximity indicators, we examine how different planning approaches affect park design and, as a result, influence residents' perceptions of safety. We cross-validated the results with survey studies conducted over several years. The study findings suggest that park location, spatial configuration of woody vegetation, and management of understory can be important design considerations that impact residents' perceived levels of safety. Park designers and managers should also consider providing parks that meet diverse needs and balance the requirements of ecological preservation, aesthetics, and cultural preference.
Environment and behavior (2012)
This research examined the effect of concealment (environmental cues), presence or absence of people recreating (social cues), and gender on individuals’ fear of crime in a community park setting. Using a 7-point single- item indicator, 732 participants from two samples (540 park visitors and 192 college students) rated their estimates of fear of crime to 24 photographic representations of a community park. All three, two-factor interaction effects were significant in the park visitor sample, but in the student sample, only the Presence of People Recreating × Gender effect was significant. These results suggest that social and environmental cues may jointly affect fear experiences and that the presence of other people recreating in a park environment and the gender of an individual may influence fear of crime when recreating alone in a park setting. Implications include design and management techniques that promote safe park environments.
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.
Sociological Methods & Research (2019)
This article makes the case for shadowing as ethnographic methodology: focusing attention on what occurs as interlocutors move among settings and situations. Whereas ethnographers often zoom in on one principal set of situations or site, we argue that intersituational variation broadens and deepens the researcher’s ethnographic account as well as affording important correctives to some common inferential pitfalls. We provide four warrants for shadowing: (a) buttressing intersituational claims, (b) deepening ethnographers’ ability to trace meaning making by showing how meanings shift as they travel and how such shifts may affect interlocutors’ understandings, (c) gaining leverage on the structure of subjects’ social worlds, and (d) helping the ethnographer make larger causal arguments. We show the use value of these considerations through an analysis of violence and informal networks in an ethnography of immigrant Latinos who met to socialize and play soccer in a Los Angeles park.
Environment and Behavior (2015)
To what extent does the density of the tree cover in a city relate to the amount of social capital among neighbors? To address this question, we linked social survey data (N = 361) from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study with socioeconomic, urban form, and green space data at the census block group level using a geographic information system. We found a systematically positive relationship between the density of urban tree canopy at the neighborhood block group level and the amount of social capital at the individual level (r = .241, p < .01). Multiple regression analyses showed that tree canopy added a 22.72% increase in explanatory power to the model for social capital. This research adds a new variable—neighborhood tree canopy—to the typologies of green space that affect human social connection. Trees are a relatively inexpensive and easy intervention to enhance the strength of social ties among neighbors.
Economic Anthropology (2015)
As one of 725 UNESCO World Heritage Properties, Antigua, Guatemala, is subject to local international regulations related to building codes and how streets and public places are occupied. These regulations are discussed within the theoretical framework of spatial governmentality to explore that relationship between governance and Maya street vendors’ economic practices. I situate the scholarly discussion of spatial governmentality within a specific economic context by highlighting how street economies are affected by what Foucault calls the “era of ‘governmentality,’” especially in an ethnographic context. In this article, I argue that horizontal and vertical forms of governmentality affect the economic practices of street vendors within Antigua’s sociopolitically constructed spaces. Understanding how spatial governmentalities work in a particular place helps explain why street economies persist and why new ones emerge. In Antigua’s case, a new mobile form of street vending emerged because of newly implemented municipal regulations and policing priorities.
URBAN DESIGN International (2008)
This article discusses how street design and traffic affect social relations in urban neighbourhoods. Three street types in the city of Basel, Switzerland were studied: a 50km/h street, a 30km/h street and three encounter zones (20km/h and pedestrian priority, also known as woonerven or home zones). The effects were measured in terms of neighbourhood interactions, use of public space and the personal feelings of belonging of residents. The study, standing in the tradition of Donald Appleyard’s liveable street research in the early 1970s, was carried out in the framework programme ‘Social Inclusion and Social Exclusion’ financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and by the Swiss Federal Office of Sports. The results show that urban neighbourhoods are (still) very lively social places, despite their often lamented anonymity and individualisation. Streets with slow moving traffic, limited space for parking and good environmental qualities offer a large potential for personal development, contentment and social integration. Neighbourhood contacts in such streets are more frequent and more intensive and the separation effects are substantially smaller. Liveable streets in urban neighbourhoods can be great places for public life and social inclusion.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2014)
Residents in a neighborhood view physical disorders as a potential incubator for negative incidents. Even though the disorders may not directly bring serious crime to the neighborhood, the poor physical conditions may affect residents in other ways, including increases in perceived physical disorder and fear of crime and decreases in neighborhood satisfaction. Focusing on the effects of physical disorder, this study examined the underlying associations between the actual upkeep, perceived upkeep, and neighborhood satisfaction using a structural equation model. The findings confirmed interrelationships be- tween factors; confirmed that as some categories of actual upkeep improved, perceived upkeep and neighborhood satisfaction improved; confirmed that as perceived upkeep improved, perceived safety from crime and neighborhood satisfaction improved; and confirmed that as perceived safety from crime improved, neighborhood satisfaction improved. The structural equation model showed that actual physical upkeep factors each had indirect effects on perceived upkeep, safety from crime, and neighborhood satisfaction.
Gender, Place & Culture (2019)
What features of the physical environment may support women to breastfeed in the public space? Based on in-depth interviews with eight women who were breastfeeding during the research period, this article explores this question. Three factors were examined as contributing to the comfort of nursing women in public space: peer support, a sense of protection, and cultural signifiers. Using five scales of physical attributes, tested through a visual research tool, a range of public spaces were examined to give insight into the features that contribute to women’s ability and willingness to nurse in them. The results show that a sense of place attachment does not affect women’s willingness to breastfeed; that physical comfort is desired, but can be waived aside; that physical shelter is important; that peers (in the form of other parents) or their expected presence, form a strong source of support; and that perceived formality, or work-related context, is the strongest deterrent reported to breastfeeding. I conclude that using private sphere attributes in public spaces could make them more accessible to the practice of breastfeeding.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2008)
Walking is important for the health of elderly people. Previous studies have found a relationship between neighbourhood characteristics, physical activity and related health aspects. The multivariate linear regression model presented here describes the relationships between the perceived attractiveness of streets for walking along and (physical) street characteristics. Two hundred and eighty-eight independently living elderly people (between 55 and 80 years old) participated in the study. Street characteristics were assessed along homogeneous street subsections defined as ‘links’. Positively related to perceived attractiveness of links were the following street characteristics: slopes and/or stairs, zebra crossings, trees along the route, front gardens, bus and tram stops, shops, business buildings, catering establishments, passing through parks or the city centre, and traffic volume. Litter on the street, high-rise buildings, and neighbourhood density of dwellings were negatively related to perceived link attractiveness. Overall, the results suggest that three main aspects affect perceived attractiveness of streets for walking, namely tidiness of the street, its scenic value and the presence of activity or other people along the street. The results are discussed within the context of these three aspects.
Environment and behavior (2011)
The Irvine Minnesota Inventory (IMI) was designed to measure environ- mental features that may be associated with physical activity and particularly walking. This study assesses how well the IMI predicts physical activity and walking behavior and develops shortened, validated audit tools. A version of the IMI was used in the Twin Cities Walking Study, a research project measuring how density, street pattern, mixed use, pedestrian infrastructure, and a variety of social and economic factors affect walking. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the predictive value of the IMI. We find that while this inventory provides reliable measurement of urban design features, only some of these features present associations with increased or decreased walking. This article presents two versions of shortened scales—a prudent scale, requiring association with two separate measures of a physical activity or walking behavior, and a moderate scale, requiring association with one measure of physical activity or walking. The shortened scales provide built environment audit instruments that have been tested both for inter- rater reliability and for associations with physical activity and walking. The results are also useful in showing which built environment variables are more reliably associated with walking for travel—characteristics of the sidewalk infrastructure, street crossings and traffic speeds, and land use are more strongly associated with walking for travel, while factors that measure aesthetics are typically less strongly associated with walking for travel.