• Carina Nyholm Sørensen
  • Sina Azmoun
4. term, Urban Design, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis seeks to unfold how the field of urban design may address the phenomenon of feeling unsafe in public spaces. This has been done with a specific case located in Brønshøj, Copenhagen, where Brønshøj Plaza has been chosen as the site. This site was chosen specifically as the annual ‘Safety Survey’ from Copenhagen Municipality showed that Brønshøj has had an increasing level of citizens that feel unsafe in the district. This number lies above the average for the rest of Copenhagen, making it statistically significant (Copenhagen Municipality, 2021). For this thesis the methodological approach has been with the approach of the hermeneutic spiral, where the design tool of designing in different medias has been the main method that has driven the thesis process. As for the theoretical framework, firstly there was done an extensive literature review to determine the state of the art of the theme of urban design and the feeling of safety. From this state-of-the-art research it became clear, that urban design addresses forms of safety, but does not directly address the feeling of safety. Rather urban design addresses several principles that has a connection to how people perceive spaces. In this thesis 5 principles were chosen from the theoretical framework, to be utilized in the further design work. The main conclusions from the site analysis are that the site is divided into different zones, which brings different atmospheres and feelings to the site. There are two main elements that help to create these barriers. Firstly, the different types of barriers, in the form of both visual and physical, in the site creates divisions. Lastly, the fact that some spaces have a specific use (such as the plaza and playground), but others remain unspecified also creates division in the site. To break up these barriers the main design element was decided to be a network of paths with multiple different functions. Firstly, the paths should be connected well to the context ensuring the correct flow into the site. Then the path not only leads the pedestrians to the different spaces of the site, but the path itself is what has created these spaces, making a more coherent design. Lastly, specific places on the path have been decided with a wider measurement to accommodate the need for different sizes of space for different locally driven activities. Furthermore, to ensure that the site will also feel safe during the evening hours, an extensive lighting design has also been implemented.
This thesis then becomes one example of how to address the feeling of safety through the means of urban design. But as the theoretical state of the art review showed, then there are more principles and factors that can affect the feeling of safety in public spaces. As this is also a question of perception which is very much subjective to the individual person, there are more factors to be explored on how public spaces affects not only the human emotions but also its behaviours.
Publication date22 May 2022
Number of pages132
External collaboratorBrønshøj-Husum Lokaludvalg
Camilla Stolt Nielsen LJ8E@kk.dk
ID: 471026151