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My Home is my Castle: Residential Well being and Perceived Safety in Different Types of Housing Areas in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Safety in the housing environment is a basic human need and may be a prerequisite for health but studies from the perspective of the residents are limited in the literature. Although historically public health research has recognized the housing environment as an important determinant of health, there is a need for more research on how housing conditions influence residential well-being.

Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to examine factors and conditions associated with residential well-being and perceived safety in different types of housing areas and to compare safety promotion intervention designs based on residents self-expressed safety needs with corresponding designs developed by local government professionals.

Materials and methods: A postal survey (response rate 56%, n=2476) and 11 focus groups (57 participants) were conducted among the residents in 3 small-scale housing areas with detached houses and 3 housing areas with blocks of flats in a Swedish municipality. The areas were geographically contiguous as each of the small-scale areas bordered on an area with blocks of flats. The study municipality is a designated member of WHO Safe Community network that have signed up to work in line with the indicators developed by WHO Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion. Narrative data from a postal questionnaire were used to analyze the lay perspective and identify features perceived to be necessary to feel safe by residents in areas with blocks of flats and small-scale housing areas. Quantitative data were used to examine correlates of local safety-related concerns through a factor analysis. Logistic regression analysis examined associations between high-level scores of the safetyrelated dimensions found and area-level crime rate and being a victim of crime, area reputation, gender, age, education, country of birth, household civil status and type of housing. To examine how self-assessed area reputation is associated with social trust and residential well-being, a multilevel logistic regression analysis was performed using quantitative data, controlling for the random effect of neighbourhood- and individual-level socio-demographic factors. Data from focus group interviews were analyzed to identify mechanisms of how neighbourhood reputation was established. The quality function deployment (QFD) technique was used in a case study to integrate residents’ demands into the design of safety promotion interventions in housing areas. The resulting design was then compared with the safety intervention programme designed by professionals at the municipality administrative office. The results from this comparison were then investigated to identify improvements for the indicators for Safe Homes in the Safe Community programme.

Results: The residents’ narratives showed that a stable social structure in the housing area was perceived to be the central factor in a safety-supportive residential environment. Whereas maintenance of good and reassuring relations was emphasized in small-scale housing areas, support for management of poor or even fear-provoking neighbour relations was requested from areas with blocks of flats. The crime rates were lower and safety-related concerns were less in small-scale housing areas. Three composite dimensions (CD) of perceived residential safety were identified: structural indicators of social disorder (CD 1); contact with disorderly behaviour (CD 2); and existential insecurity (CD 3). Area-level crime rates and individual-level variables were associated with dimensions (CD 1) and (CD 3), but only individuallevel variables were associated with dimension (CD 2). The level of residential well-being and social trust was higher in small-scale areas. The housing area reputation was found to be strongly associated with safety-related concerns, residential well-being and social trust. The area reputation also seemed to be a determinant of position in the local social structure; residents were found to position themselves in a rank order. The QFD analysis showed that the initiation and maintenance of social integrative processes in housing areas were the most highly prioritized interventions among the residents, but the analysis did not highlight the safety needs of several vulnerable groups. The Safe Community programme designed by professionals did not address the social integrative processes, but did cover the vulnerable groups.

Conclusions: Area reputation is an important and probably underestimated dimension in the development of residential well-being and perceived safety. The QFD technique can be added to the methodological toolbox for residential safety promotion. The technique is particular suitable for providing a quality orientation from the lay perspective on safety promotion in local residential areas. The current Safe Homes concept in the Safe Community programme would benefit from being widened to Safe Housing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 95 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1190
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-60160ISBN: 978-91-7393-349-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-60160DiVA: diva2:355507
Public defence
2010-10-14, Aulan, Hälsans Hus, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-10-07 Created: 2010-10-07 Last updated: 2013-09-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Residents’ perspectives on safety support needs in different types of housing areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Residents’ perspectives on safety support needs in different types of housing areas
2011 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 39, no 6, 590-597 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Knowledge about conditions that are understood to support safety is important for planning residential safety promotion in interactions with residents. How residents themselves perceive and reason about their own safety needs has seldom been investigated in Scandinavia. Aim: To identify factors perceived to be necessary to feel safe by residents in areas with blocks of flats and detached houses.

Methods: Residents in a Swedish municipality were asked an open-ended question on the research topic by a mail survey; 787 residents provided narrative data that were fed into a summative qualitative and quantitative content analysis.

Results: A stable social structure in the housing area was perceived to be the central factor in a safety-supportive residential environment. Whereas maintenance of good and reassuring relations was emphasized in detached housing areas, support for management of poor or even fear-provoking neighbour relations was requested from areas with blocks of flats. This finding emphasizes the need to reduce the differential exposure to safety-related factors in the living environment.

Conclusions: The results of our study encourage the continued use of a setting-orientated safety promotion approach in which residents and other stakeholders are involved. The policy recommendation that can be drawn from the study is that both the subjective and objective dimensions of safety should be identified and considered when developing local safety promotion interventions in community contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage, 2011
Keyword
Safety promotion; resident perspective; housing; neighbourhoods; safety inequalities, content analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-60158 (URN)10.1177/1403494810395988 (DOI)000293249400005 ()
Available from: 2010-10-07 Created: 2010-10-07 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Correlates of local safety-related concerns in a Swedish Community: a cross-sectional study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Correlates of local safety-related concerns in a Swedish Community: a cross-sectional study
2009 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 9, no 221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Crime in a neighbourhood has been recognized as a key stressor in the residential environment. Fear of crime is related to risk assessment, which depends on the concentration of objective risk in time and space, and on the presence of subjective perceived early signs of imminent hazard. The aim of the study was to examine environmental, socio-demographic, and personal correlates of safety-related concerns at the local level in urban communities. The specific aim was to investigate such correlates in contiguous neighbourhoods in a Swedish urban municipality. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to investigate three neighbourhood settings with two pair-wise conterminous but socially contrasting areas within each setting. Crime data were retrieved from police records. Study data were collected through a postal questionnaire distributed to adult residents (n = 2476) (response rate 56%). Composite dimensions of perceived residential safety were derived through a factor analysis. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between high-level scores of the three safety-related dimensions and area-level crime rate, being a victim of crime, area reputation, gender, age, education, country of birth, household civil status and type of housing. Results: Three composite dimensions of perceived residential safety were identified: (I) structural indicators of social disorder; (II) contact with disorderly behavior; and (III) existential insecurity. We found that area-level crime rates and individual-level variables were associated with the dimensions structural indicators of social disorder and existential insecurity, but only individual-level variables were associated with the dimension contact with disorderly behavior. Self-assessed less favorable area reputation was found to be strongly associated with all three factors. Being female accorded existential insecurity more than being a victim of crime. Conclusion: We have identified environmental, socio-demographic, and personal correlates of safety-related concerns in contiguous neighbourhoods in a Swedish community. The results of this study suggest that residents self-assessed area reputation is an important underlying mechanism of perceived safety. We also found a difference in crime rates and safety-related concerns between areas with blocks of flats compared with small-scale areas although the neighbourhoods were close geographically.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20757 (URN)10.1186/1471-2458-9-221 (DOI)
Note
Original Publication: Agneta Kullberg, Nadine Karlsson, Toomas Timpka and Kent Lindqvist, Correlates of local safety-related concerns in a Swedish Community: a cross-sectional study, 2009, BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, (9), 221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-221 Licensee: BioMed Central http://www.biomedcentral.com/ Available from: 2009-09-19 Created: 2009-09-18 Last updated: 2013-09-05
3. Does the perceived neighborhood reputation contribute to neighborhood differences in social trust and residential wellbeing?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does the perceived neighborhood reputation contribute to neighborhood differences in social trust and residential wellbeing?
Show others...
2010 (English)In: Journal of community psychology (Print), ISSN 0090-4392, E-ISSN 1520-6629, Vol. 38, no 5, 591-606 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The authors used a mixed methods approach to examine if the reputation of a housing area has bearing on residential wellbeing and social trust in three pairs of socioeconomically contrasting neighborhoods in a Swedish urban municipality. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations between area reputation and residential wellbeing and social trust, controlling for the random effect of neighborhood and individual level sociodemographic factors. Qualitative data were analyzed to identify mechanisms of how neighborhood reputations were established. The housing area reputation was found to be strongly associated with wellbeing and social trust. The area reputation also seemed to be a determinant of position in the local social structure; residents were found to position themselves in a rank order The results suggest that area reputation is an important and probably underestimated dimension in the development of residential wellbeing and social trust in housing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley and Sons, Ltd, 2010
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58346 (URN)10.1002/jcop.20383 (DOI)000278776400004 ()
Available from: 2010-08-13 Created: 2010-08-11 Last updated: 2017-12-12
4. Integrating residents’ demands into the design of safety promotion interventions in housing areas: a case study application of quality function deployment in a Safe Community program
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrating residents’ demands into the design of safety promotion interventions in housing areas: a case study application of quality function deployment in a Safe Community program
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: The needs and demands of the residents are rarely considered in community-based design of safety services and planning in housing areas. We therefore set out to compare safety promotion intervention design based on residents’ self-expressed safety needs with interventions designed by local government professionals. A secondary aim was to use the results to suggest improvements for the safety promotion indicators targeting Safe Homes within the Safe Community movement.

Methods: Case study research methods based on a nested single-case design were used for the study. Data collected from 787 residents in a case study community were analyzed using the quality function deployment (QFD) technique. Quantitative and qualitative data on residents’ self-expressed safety needs were transformed into an intervention design. The resulting design was then compared with the safety intervention program designed by professionals at the municipality administrative office. The results from this comparison were then investigated to identify improvements for the indicators for Safe Homes in the Safe Community program.

Results: The QFD analysis showed that the initiation and maintenance of social integrative processes in housing areas were the most highly prioritized interventions among the residents, but the analysis did not highlight the safety needs of several vulnerable groups (e.g. the old elderly, infants, and persons with disabilities). The Safe Community program designed by professionals did not address the social integrative processes, but did cover the vulnerable groups. Our results indicate that the current Safe Homes concept in the Safe Community program would benefit from being widened to Safe Housing.

Conclusions: The QFD technique can be added to the methodological toolbox for residential safety promotion. The technique is particularly suitable for providing a quality orientation from the lay perspective of residents. Residents and professionals can contribute with different perspectives on safety promotion and injury prevention in local residential areas. In developing safe housing, these different views should be identified and considered. Socio-economic differences and social inequalities in safety-related housing conditions between areas also need to be considered in the programs.

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-60159 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-07 Created: 2010-10-07 Last updated: 2013-09-05

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