Integrating sketch maps with gis to explore fear of crime in the urban environment: a review of the past and prospects for the future

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Integrating sketch maps with GIS to explore fear of crime in the urban environment: a review of the past and prospects for the future Jacqueline W. Curtis Author(s): Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science. 39.4 (Oct. 2012): p175. Report Document Type: DOI: Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2012 Cartography and GeographicInformation Society, Inc. Abstract: Title: Understanding the spatial dimension of fear of crime in the urban environment is important to understanding behaviors in response to this concern. Making this connection between perception and action has long been a goal of scholars in the social and health sciences, though this complex relationship has yet to be fullyelucidated. Specifically, in studies on fear of crime and its influence on behavior, a variety of definitions and methods have been employed. This situation has yielded insights, as well as inconsistencies. In the past decade, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has been added to this methodological mix, though it too has contributed limited understanding of the environmental perception-behaviornexus. During this time, some scholars have integrated a traditional technique for accessing environmental perception, the sketch map, with this newer technology. This article provides a review and critical assessment of the way GIS has been used to understand fear of crime, specifically through the integration of sketch maps. This focus is framed by an overview of substantive and methodologicalconcerns and concludes with a discussion of continued research needs. As behavioral responses to fear of crime are acknowledged to impact physical and mental health and overall well-being, in addition to the viability of neighborhoods, research in this area will continue apace. However, for integration of sketch maps in GIS to be a valuable methodological contributor to this line of inquiry, users ofthe approach must understand its complexities. This article outlines these issues so that they may be considered in future research and may improve the ability for this approach to yield new understanding of fear of crime. Keywords: environmental perception, emotion, tear of crime, behavior, sketch maps, Geographic Information System (GIS) Full Text: Introduction Perception and emotion areinherently difficult concepts to operationalize in research. Nonetheless, they are imbued in human behavior; the decisions we make are influenced by how we feel and by what we believe. Therefore, despite the challenges of studying such complex concepts, in order to understand human behavior we must make strides to elucidate perception and emotion in a research framework. In the last decade, attemptshave been made to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to integrate data on people's perceptions and emotions related to the urban environment. Though a recent research strategy, it brings together work from across the social sciences going back to the 1960s with more recent studies on perception, emotion, fear of crime, and GIS, especially from critical and feminist perspectives. The result ofthis integration is the opportunity for hybridization of ways of knowing which has the potential to result in more robust explanations of how environmental perception and emotion influence and are influenced by human behavior. One area of research where this integration holds promise is in the study of fear of crime and its influence on behavior in the urban environment. This article drawstheoretically and methodologically from three areas to understand how sketch maps and GIS may be used to study the relationship between how people feel about the urban environment and then how these feelings influence behavior: 1) environmental perception, 2) mapping, and 3) fear of crime. An overview of the relevant contributions of each area will be presented, followed by an analysis of existing...
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