Measuring local feelings of insecurity: insights from the ToNite project

Paris, France, September 2020 – The TONITE project led by the municipality of Turin (IT), in which Efus is a partner and which seeks to improve the liveability and accessibility of two neighbourhoods of Turin, in particular at night, has used research methods inspired by ethnography to measure local feelings of insecurity. These can inspire other European local authorities willing to investigate how local residents experience their neighbourhood, notably at night.

The project will produce a series of factsheets on the various initiatives and practices it covers, including this ethnographic research, which will be made available to all Efus member European local authorities in the coming months.   

Ethnographic research

With the help of the specialised consultancy Experientia, which is a partner in the project, 36 contextual and in-depth interviews were conducted with a representative sample of local residents. The objective was to gain a deep understanding of behaviours, attitudes and values linked to residents’ perception of their neighbourhood, in particular the difference between day and night.  

Exploratory walks

Five exploratory walks were conducted with local residents who were asked to show on the ground the problems that had been highlighted in the interview phase. These revolved around topics such as access to green spaces for children and families, abandoned areas, nightlife, life along the Dora River waterfront, and multicultural identity.

Online questionnaires 

A questionnaire aimed at all Turin residents was disseminated online to evaluate how people experience the areas targeted by the project: the physical and aesthetic features of public spaces (e.g. the level of cleanliness and care of public spaces and green areas, the quality of outdoor lighting at nighttime, accessibility to green areas and local parks) as well as factors associated with a good level of social cohesion and feelings of security. The results enabled the project to qualify which factors have an impact on the perception of insecurity and to identify the most problematic areas.

Persona modelling 

A modelling tool was used to define nine behavioural archetypes, or personas, in other words the behavioural, cultural and social factors that shape the perception of insecurity in the target areas and those that can change behaviours and thus contribute to improving local residents’ feeling of security. 

Criticalities and opportunity maps 

The results enabled the project to map out the aspects that influence local residents’ feelings of (in)security. Based on this, the project identified 33 opportunities , including those where the municipality can directly intervene in order to improve residents’ feeling of security and liveability.

Preliminary guidelines for local authorities

Through this research, the project identified a number of insights that can be useful for other European local authorities, in particular: 

  • Identifying the right stakeholders that will be involved in such an audit/research.
  • Engaging with the local population throughout the process. 
  • Designing a targeted communication strategy in order to involve the local population and other local stakeholders. 

> More information on the TONITE project
> TONITE’s dedicated website
> TONITE’s newsletter 
> Experientia’s website

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