Place attachment in self-built informal housing: improving spaces of crime

Abstract

In Brazil, informal settlements house over 11 million dwellers in areas characterized by lower socio-economic conditions, insecure tenure and inadequate basic services. Despite these constrains, many informal dwellers engage in a continuous process to incrementally improve their housing units and community services. In this study, we develop a conceptual model that links studies in crime prevention through environmental design and place attachment to argue that incremental housing improvements in infrastructure can deter criminal activity. We estimate an empirical model using data from a survey of 45,000 households located in informal settlements for a Brazilian city. We conclude by pointing out how aesthetic finishes to external housing materials have a most prominent effect in deterring criminal activities than State provided infrastructure. The discussion highlights how crime is systemically concentrated in informal settlements, and that urbanization interventions must consider localized improvements to individual households in conjunction with the provision of basic services.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support from Dr. Flavia Montenegro-Menezes in developing this research and the feedback from the reviewers. We also thank the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES, Brazil) for funding this research.

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Correspondence to Lara Furtado.

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Furtado, L., Renski, H. Place attachment in self-built informal housing: improving spaces of crime. J Hous and the Built Environ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-020-09755-3

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Keywords

  • Crime
  • Housing improvements
  • Informal settlements
  • Place attachment