Evaluating Perceived Safety and Comfort in Urban Civic Spaces


  • L. W. G. Kawshalya Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
  • U. G. D. Weerasinghe Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
  • D. P. Chandrasekara Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka




Urban, Perceived Safety, Comfort, Framework, Public


The urban public spaces play a vital role in the enhancement of quality of life of the urbanites. Recent studies explicitly demonstrate the fact that these limited spaces in the urban context directly impact on the physical, social, and psychological health of its users. But some of these spaces are often underused or neglected as a result of perceived danger and risk implicit by the arrangement of elements. This is common in many designed urban public spaces. This study focuses on three types of urban civic spaces as squares, plazas and forecourts which are vital on sustainable development of urban communities.Accordingly, this research intends to develop a framework to assess perceived safety and comfort in urban civic spaces. The process (literature) identified seven main attributes namely visual qualities, spatial configuration, pleasurability, inclusiveness, convenience, activities, and imageability. The 54 sub-attributes ascertained under the main attributes were scored through observations and direct user ratings. Expert weightages and significance scores obtained through the process finalizes an equation to calculate the final perceived safety and comfort levels of the urban civic spaces. Validation of this framework in the context of Sri Lanka depicted that Arcade Independence Square (Square) is more psychologically safer and comfortable for the users, followed by Echelon square (plaza)and Fort station forecourt (forecourt). The final scores produced by the developed framework reflects the current condition of the civic space elaborating the demands for improvements. The proper use of this framework will result in convivial, safer, comfortable, and user-friendly urban civic spaces.


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How to Cite

Kawshalya, L. W. G., Weerasinghe, U. G. D., & Chandrasekara, D. P. (2022). Evaluating Perceived Safety and Comfort in Urban Civic Spaces. The Asian Review of Civil Engineering, 11(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.51983/tarce-2022.11.1.3232