عنوان مقاله [English]
Urban security has an important role in the healthy development of urbanization process. Lack of security disrupts the society wellbeing in daily life, impedes the cultural development and public participation and imposes high costs on society. Provision of security is an essential factor for strengthening communities and making them more confident and responsible for their own lives and wellbeing. Appropriate urban spaces greatly contribute to the security and reduce vulnerability and social problems. Due to differences in the quality of urban spaces, sense of security or insecurity is also different for residents. As a result, some neighbourhoods are felt safer than others. On the other hand, the physical quality of neighbourhoods is under the influences of social behaviors and hence characteristic of each neighbourhood is different from other neighbourhoods. Because of the importance of public spaces in the development of democratic society, the equal access to public realms reduces the social segregation and helps to achieve the establishment of civil society. Sense of security causes the presence of people in urban spaces while the lack of it or fear of crime or being attacked by uncivil behaviors, will limit their presence in urban public spaces. Encouraging citizen’s presence in public spaces and providing equal accessibility for all individual and groups are among the necessary measures that should be taken into consideration. Previous research shows three sets of variables that impact neighbourhood security including demographic characteristics, victimization experience and neighborhood conditions. Among the demographic variables, sex, age and socio-economic status have been identified as important factors that influence the crime and security. Previous studies also indicate a significant relationship between victimization and perceptions of risk in the neighborhood. Finally, variables such as deteriorating buildings, density, street quality, the lighting conditions and trash have been noted as environmental characteristics that affect neighbourhood security. This paper has focused on the role of social and physical factors impacting citizens’ perception of security in six neighborhoods of Rasht. The objectives include 1) to find out how is the perceived security within urban neighborhoods of Rasht? 2) Is there any significant difference between the security perceptions of different neighbourhoods? And, 3) what are the main predictors for perceived neighborhood security for urban residents? The used data in this study has exctracted from a field survey in 2014 conducted in six
neighborhoods of Rasht, Iran. Rasht is the capital of Guilan Province and the largest population centre on the southern Caspian Sea coasts. Selected neighborhoods include 1)Golsar neighborhood, a planned district with mostly high income groups, 2) Farhangian neighborhood, a small and relatively high income groups, 3) Sagharsazan neighborhood, located in the old and central district with relatively medium to low income groups. 4) Rashtian neighborhood located in the west part containing medium to low income residents, 5) Dianati neighborhood situated in the east part with mostly lower income groups and 6) Hamidian neighborhood located in the west with majority of low income rural immigrants. The dependent variable assesses the extent to which residents agreed on the perceived security of their neighborhoods. Answers were organized in a fivelevel Likert scale of, completely agree, agree, neutral, disagree and completely disagree. The independent variables included time (day and night), demographic characteristics (gender, level of education, length of residence in the neighborhood, being close to relatives, sense of safety for children and presence of police) and physical conditions of the neighborhood (street lighting, quality of streets, congested passages, existence of deteriorated and or abandoned buildings). For the analysis, Non-parametric tests of Wilcoxon and one-way Annova tests were used to analyze the security perception among the neighborhoods. Also an OLS regression was employed to find out the main social and physical factors affecting neighborhood security. Our study indicated that the perception of neighborhood security is significantly different between the day and night times. While no difference was observed for neighborhood security perception between men and women for day time, it was significantly different for the night time. The study found a relationship between neighborhood security perception and the overall socioeconomic status of residents. It revealed that the residents of neighborhoods with higher socio-economic status felt safer than residents of neighborhoods with lower social status. Results of OLS regression showed that among the selected social and physical variables, safety perception for children, deteriorated and abandoned buildings, quality of roads, street lighting are the most important predicting factors of security perception within the different neighborhoods in Rasht.