Research in Public Spaces: Safety and Human Behavior

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Virginia Tech


This thesis is a study of public spaces with a focus on personal safety and human behavior in public spaces. It establishes literature in the realm of public spaces, safety standards, and behavioral research and aims to identify common ground or conflicts between people behavior in public spaces and safety standards of public spaces. Research is supported through detailed on-site analysis and various techniques of behavioral research of two plazas in a campus setting.

The first part of the research focuses on literature to understand origin of public space, importance of safety, and evolution of safety standards in the context of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). The later part of this thesis is based on preliminary site investigations, which help in identifying two public plazas on the Virginia Tech campus to provide a platform to conduct research and help identify common grounds or conflicts between safety standards and human behavior. The research also aims to help revise techniques of safety evaluation of public spaces, based on human needs and behavior. The research is primarily qualitative in nature supported with a concise quantitative data analysis to ascertain participant demographics and social needs.



CPTED, Human behavior, Public spaces, Safety