Surveillance as a variable explaining why other people’s presence in a park setting affects sense of safety and preferences


  • Aleksandra Lis Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Wrocław, Poland
  • Zalewska Karolina Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Wrocław, Poland



landscape design, mediation models, privacy, safety, urban parks, social control


Research on preferences towards urban parks very rarely takes into account the impact of other people’s presence in a park setting. We examined how the number of people in the vicinity and their distance affect sense of safety and preferences towards park space, and what role surveillance (being seen or heard) plays in these relationships. We analysed the correlations between the variables and the mediating effects. For this purpose, we employed a within-subjects design in which 194 participants evaluated a set of 112 eye-level photographs of park landscapes with regard to perceived safety, landscape preference and surveillance. We calculated how many people were in the field and determined their distance on the basis of photos. We analysed a number of mediation models testing hypotheses about the mediating role of surveillance and safety in the impact of other people’s presence on safety and preferences. Most of the hypotheses presented, and verified by the analysis of indirect effects, were confirmed. The number of people does not affect preferences, but does affect safety, and this explains why the sense of being monitored (being seen or heard) grows along with the number of people present. On the other hand, the influence of distance on preferences is explained by a sequential model — greater distance is associated with less surveillance; in turn, surveillance increases sense of safety, which also leads to stronger preferences.


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Title image LO.2024.1123




How to Cite

Lis, A., & Karolina, Z. (2024). Surveillance as a variable explaining why other people’s presence in a park setting affects sense of safety and preferences. Landscape Online, 99, 1123.



Research Article