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Faculty Mentor

Jin-Kyu Jung

Subject Area

Geography, Sociology, Social Sciences, Other

Abstract

Urban community gardens have been shown to have positive affects social capital, yet like many public spaces, are open to negative activities like crime. Contrary to this idea, most of the literature has indicated that urban green spaces are associated with a reduction in crime. This study utilized a mixed-methods research design to explore the hypothesis that areas around Seattle’s “P-Patch” community gardens are associated with a reduction in crime. We employed spatio-temporal GIS (Geographic Information Systems) analyses, statistical analyses, and qualitative interviews with gardeners. Yearly violent and property crime rates for 132 census tracts in Seattle, locations of 84 P-Patches were mapped, and changes in crime and garden establishment from 1996 to 2006 were observed. Correlations were conducted on socio-demographic, crime, and P-Patch variables. Interviews with four gardeners were conducted and qualitatively analyzed for common themes. Geographic visualization showed interesting patterns in crime and P-Patch establishment in South Seattle in particular, but outcomes of the correlation between P-Patch and crime variables were inconclusive. Qualitative interviews with gardeners provided a fuller account of the overall changes in Seattle crime, gardeners’ perceptions of neighborhood safety, and its relation to the development of urban community spaces such as P-Patches.

Keywords

Community Gardens, Crime, Mixed-Methods Research, Urban Studies, Geographic Information System, Exploratory Data Analysis

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