My Home is my Castle: Residential Well being and Perceived Safety in Different Types of Housing Areas in Sweden
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1190
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-60160ISBN: 978-91-7393-349-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-60160DiVA: diva2:355507
2010-10-14, Aulan, Hälsans Hus, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00
Janlert, Urban, Professor
Lindqvist, Kent, ProfessorTimpka, Toomas, Professor
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