Landscape architecture graduate student researches public spaces that help women feel comfortable and safe

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 25, 2008 – Sruthi Atmakur, a landscape architecture student in Virginia Tech's School of Architecture + Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, is researching what about a public space's environment can make women feel comfortable and safe, and what can do just the opposite.

The use of public space by women as a specific user group has been a subject of recent research studies. Atmakur’s research primarily addresses the basic issue of the psychology of women in public spaces and the role of designers in creating public spaces with this user group in mind. Some of the core issues addressed include women’s preferences in spatial configurations and site elements, comfort levels, familiarity of spaces, personal space bubbles, fear, and security.

Atmakur’s research reveals measures designers can take to achieve a sense of security and familiarity for women using a public space. It also addresses the sometimes conflicting needs of men and women in this regard.

Atmakur, of India, is also the cultural secretary of the Virginia Tech Indian Students Association and hosts the India Radio Show on WUVT-FM 90.7 on Saturdays at 4 p.m. She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India.