PerCPTED: Understanding How Environmental Design Influences the Perception of Safety

Authors: Autumn James*, University of Texas - San Antonio
Topics: Behavioral Geography, Environmental Perception, Planning Geography
Keywords: perception, CPTED, built environment, behavioral geography, mixed methods
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Perception of space is complex. Broad concepts, based loosely on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), were utilized to examine spaces and compare differences in perception based upon previous (or lack of) criminal victimization experience. Photo interpretation of provided landscapes and content analysis of respondent photo descriptions were used to identify factors and features perceived as either safe or unsafe when assessing built environments and landscapes. T-tests measure the relationship between victimization experience and average number of words used to describe safe and unsafe surroundings. Results reinforce the centrality of personal experience in influencing the perception and navigation of space. Those with criminal victimization experience were statistically more descriptive of safe and unsafe surroundings, suggesting that past experiences molded a greater awareness of and ability to assign meaning to surroundings. Further, results of this study reinforce the familiarity of concepts from CPTED, such as access control and natural surveillance, however the perception and meaning of these factors was inconsistent. These findings are important as they highlight the influence of lived experience and can further be applied to discussions related to the development and design of people-centered spaces.

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