The impact of urban tree cover on perceived safety
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This paper investigates the impact of urban tree canopy cover on perceived safety. The paper extends previous research by examining this relationship in diverse neighborhoods within a whole city region and by accounting for neighborhood deprivation, urban form, and individual sociodemographic attributes. Based on GIS data, survey data, and municipal data, the study examines the link between tree cover and perceived safety in 45 neighborhoods of Oslo metropolitan area. Results indicate that higher urban tree cover is significantly associated with higher perceived safety, even after controlling for neighborhood deprivation, urban form attributes, and sociodemographic variables. Neighborhoods with higher tree cover are perceived as safer than those with lower tree cover. This study also finds that, when accounting for neighborhood deprivation, high-density neighborhoods are viewed as similarly safe as low-density neighborhoods. The study’s findings suggest that increasing tree cover in urban areas may result in increased sense of safety and in turn in health and well-being benefits. Such an intervention could prove especially helpful in increasing the feelings of safety in denser and in poorer neighborhoods. Attention should be paid however to housing policies to ensure that physical improvements in such neighborhoods are combined with measures designed to prevent potential displacement of vulnerable social groups.