• Christina Maigaard Berg
  • Rasmus Christensen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Insecurity has in recent years increased in the Danish society. Studies have shown that insecurity in particular applies to residents living in socially marginalized areas. One of these areas is Urbanplanen located in the southwest of Copenhagen. Studies in this area show that especially groups of young people make residents feel insecure. However, there is a lack in studies dealing with why residents feel insecure, and how insecurity can be reduced.

The aim of this study is; to examine the extent to which residents feel insecure when they encounter groups of young people, to examine why these residents feel insecure, and finally examine what ideas insecure residents recommend to reduce insecurity in the future. In order to answer these questions, the study have applied a mixed methods design, that consists of a quantitative study using traditional survey data and vignettes in combination with a qualitative study where insecure residents have participated in ‘future creating workshops’.

The study shows that 42.3% of the residents in general feel insecure when they encounter groups of young people, especially when it’s dark. The study also shows that the degree of insecurity varies greatly between the residents.

The study finds that there are many and very diverse causes to the insecurity. The study finds three main causes of insecurity: 1) Harmless and dangerous norm-breaking behaviour and harmless and dangerous criminal behavior by groups of young people. 2) Insecure residents’ norms, where young people standing together is perceived as deviant and 3) insecure residents’ perception of specific characteristics, where clothing and ethnicity is seen as deviant. The study also shows that previous insecure experiences with groups of young people initiate a process that affects the assessment and evaluation of the same young people or young people who resembles them. This occurs when insecure experiences lead to a change in the residents' cognitive perception of groups of young people. At the same time these experiences can cause residents to unconsciously find information about groups of young people that confirms their feeling of insecurity, even if the information they find is not true. In consequence, groups of young people are sometimes viewed as dangerous, even in situations where they are of no danger. The study highlights, that insecurity has a tendency to reproduce over time.

In three future creating workshops a group of insecure residents developed four ideas that they identified as the most important to reduce insecurity in the future: The insecure residents recommend that building both near and broader communities between the different residents of Urbanplanen can reduce the feeling of insecurity when encountering groups of young people. These communities are ought to transcend various cultural boundaries while being inclusive of groups of young people. The residents also recommend that groups of young people in Urbanplanen must have access to the same opportunities as other young people and therefore emphasizes the importance of providing access to a place that can be a medium for positive influences on groups of young people. Finally, they point out that Urbanplanen is subjected to a territorial stigmatization, which creates a skewed perception of the area that can cause insecurity. Residents therefore recommend to work against the territorial stigmatization, by ‘standing up’ for Urbanplanen and by developing an area that they can be proud of.
LanguageDanish
Publication date15 Jan 2016
Number of pages99
ID: 226017367