The impact of built environment characteristics on perceived general safety of city dwellers: A case study in Mianyang (China)

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Submission Summary
Problem: Associated with Chinese rapid urbanization, some disordered environment has resulted in residents’ loss of perceived safety, which is harmful no only to citizens’ wellbeing but also for the sustainable development of city (Olusola O, 2020). Background: Although literature have suggested the possible influencing mechanism between built environment and perceived safety, existing research often roughly identify feeling of safety with the concept of fear of crime(Jansson M, 2013; Jiang B, 2018; Mouratidis K, 2019). Some scholars has already emphasized that the feeling of safety is supposed to reflect general anxiety or unease with broader perceptions of social and physical environment, rather than the narrow dimension of crime-related fear.(Theo L, 2012; Jaewoong W, 2016). Especially in the context of Chinese urban community, where the violent crime rate is relative low, higher perceived safety from crime is not equivalent to favorable evaluation for perceived general safety, thus the crime-oriented interpretation of subjective safety may possibly bias the research. Methods: This paper aims to deeply analyze the specific influence effect of built environment variables on general and specific-multidimensional feeling of safety. Through comprehensive literature review, the particular concept of feeling of safety is redefined in Chinese urban residential areas, including five dimensions as communication safety (subjective safety feeling of the interpersonal contact with strangers within community), activity safety, traffic safety, public security as well as privacy safety. Possible environment impact factors are selected, which involve seven categories and comprise 24 detailed environment elements. Paper-based questionnaires were distributed in the selected areas to collect data, and structural equation model was applied to introduce "latent variables" to effectively quantify the abstract value of feeling of safety. With demographic date as control variables, six quantified models were established where environmental factors act as exogenous variables, and five dimensional as well as general perceived safety serve as endogenous variable respectively. Principal results: Results revealed that except from service facility factor, variables of roads, buildings, green space, environment quality, negative space and defense system all have significant influence on residents’ feeling of safety with varying degrees. Although the notion of perceived safety is expanded, the elements of environment quality, negative space and defense system, which are highly correlated with CPTED theory, still have the most significant impact effect. Furthermore, models showed that built environment factors had different influence effects on multidimensional safety, for example, that the feeling of activity safety is explained most significantly by environment quality while the perception of green space is the important predictor for the feeling of communication safety. Finally, quantitative model analysis and related empirical theory were combined to propose effective environmental optimization strategies, through which policy planners could improve people’s feeling of safety and adjust inhabitants’ mental health level, and provide urban settlers with improved life quality.
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2: Well-being and health. Al-Fereej: caring for living conditions
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Assistant Teacher
a). Southwest University of Science and technology b) .Harbin Institute of Technology c).Key Laboratory of Cold Region Urban and Rural Human Settlement Environment Science and Technology, China
Harbin Institute of Technology/ Key Laboratory of Cold Region Urban and Rural Human Settlement Environment Science and Technology,Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Harbin Institute of Technology/Institute for China Sustainable Urbanization, Tsinghua University, China /Key Laboratory of Cold Region Urban and Rural Human Settlement Environment Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
Assistant Teacher
Southwest University of Science and Technology

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