Our Perception of Safe Streets

Here’s a good article!  A huge study is being done right now to gauge how we assess the safety of streets, just by looking at them.  Below is the beginning of the article from The Atlantic City Section, entitled Can You Tell if a Street is Safe Just By Looking?


‘Imagine your street passing you a note. It says “Do you like me?” and asks you to circle “Yes” or “No.” There’s no “Maybe” or “Kinda” or “Yeah, but… .” This should be an easy answer. Which do you circle?


Any question framed this way can seem not particularly informative. But take that same note and send it out to a couple hundred thousand people, and the results start to gather a little more meaning. That’s the thinking behind the web-based project Place Pulse, which seeks to collect simple binary responses about images of places in cities.


Visitors are shown two pictures and asked one of the following questions:


Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class?


The project has received nearly half a million votes, and from that pool of data they’ve been able to draw a few visual conclusions. Smaller, tree-lined streets tend to be perceived as safer, while wide and blank blocks seem less so.’


Read the full story.

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