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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The importance of designing the spatial distribution and density of vegetation in urban parks for increased experience of safety

Sezavar, Nafiseh; Pazhouhanfar, Mahdieh; Van Dongen, Robert P.; Grahn, Patrik


This study presents an investigation of how different arrangements of vegetation, regarding spatial containment and density, affect the experience of safety in urban parks. A discrete choice experiment was used to obtain replies from a sample of 300 visitors to urban parks in Mashhad, Iran. Face-to-face surveys were conducted. Visitors randomly selected a block and evaluated six pairs of designed images of different urban park scenarios based on seven attributes (Physical accessibility, Spatial arrangement, Spatial volume, Lateral visibility, Complexity, Coherence, and Visual accessibility) and their levels. Each visitor chose their preferred option in relation to perceived safety. The results suggested that the perception of safety is strongly dependent on visual and physical accessibility, the degree of spatial enclosure, complexity and cohesion created by vegetation. This can help architects when designing urban parks; for example, the results showed that a combination of complex elements of five plant species with open lateral visibility, scattered cohesion with open lateral visibility, scattered cohesion with a two-sided spatial arrangement, and cluster cohesion with a four-sided spatial arrangement were most preferred regarding perceived safety. The findings also indicated that age, gender, and marital status affect some of the levels of the relevant variables. When designing and managing urban parks, aiming to improve users' perceived safety, these factors can be decisive.


    Discrete choice experiment; Prospect-refuge; Urban green space; Public health; Landscape architecture; Mixed logit model

    Published in

    Journal of Cleaner Production
    2023, Volume: 403, article number: 136768

      Associated SLU-program

      Built environment
      SLU Urban Futures
      SLU Future One Health

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG3 Good health and well-being
      SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Landscape Architecture
      Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
      Applied Psychology

      Publication Identifiers


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