Women’s safety perception assessment in an urban stream corridor: Developing a safety map based on qualitative GIS

Irene Gargiulo, Xavier Garcia, Marta Benages-Albert, J. Martinez, K. Pfeffer, Pere Vall-Casas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Perceived safety influences women’s use of green environments (GE) for physical activity with considerable implications on health. In order to address gender inequality in GE use, the effects of physical and social environmental factors on women’s perception of safety must be assessed. To achieve this, a pilot study designed and implemented a safety map based on a qualitative Geographic Information System (qGIS) methodology, in an urban stream corridor of the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona. Fourteen in-depth interviews with women users of the stream corridor were conducted to identify influencing environmental factors (i.e., lighting, vegetation density, visibility, and presence of streets, residential areas, industrial areas, parking areas, green areas, abandoned areas and discotheques, for the physical; and presence of truck drivers and vandals, and user density, for the social). These factors were translated into four spatial indicators (visibility, vegetation density, lighting, and land use) to allow for generation of safety index values. The safety map combined the safety index values with individual perceptions. The integration of qualitative and quantitative methods served to compare and contrast micro-scale individual perceptions with general perceptions of safety at the GE macro-scale. The safety map pointed out the importance of providing “eyes on the GE” and provided a nuanced understanding of how perceptions are mediated by women’s background (patriarchal vision of public space, criminal stereotypes and vulnerability of women) and everyday practices (recurrent use of GE). The map identified the areas that merit decision-makers’ attention to develop strategies for reverting gender inequality in GE use.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103779
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape and urban planning
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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