oa Alternation - Open spaces, nature and perceptions of safety in South Africa: a case study of Reservoir Hills, Durban

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Crime has emerged as one of the most prominent challenges facing South Africa. Crime and safety have been at the centre stage of several debates and discussions. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) (2001:1) states that addressing perceptions of crime, particularly anxiety and fear of crime, is as important as reducing crime levels. Additionally, ISS (2001:1) asserts that fear of crime affects quality of life and has negative economic and political consequences. These aspects are particularly acute in countries in transition such as South Africa, as indicated by the collection of articles edited by Dixon and van der Spuy (2004) that indicate the effects of crime in society, the inadequacies of South Africa's justice systems and resource constraints to effectively tackle this national problem. This article investigates how, within the context of heightened safety and security concerns, residential communities perceive open public spaces by adopting a case study approach. Open spaces in urban areas are critically important in terms of ensuring the continued presence of nature and related natural resources in built environments. However, this article reveals that residents tend to perceive these areas as crime hotspots as well as refuge areas for potential criminals. These perceptions are reflective of increased resistance to open spaces in residential areas.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error