by FE Kuo, M Bacaicoa, WC Sullivan

Environment and Behavior 30(1): 28-59


This article examines the potential of providing basic landscaping as one step in making inner-city public housing development better places for children and families.

The authors challenge the commonly agreed-upon perception that investment in landscaping makes sense for wealthy, upper-class neighborhoods, but not around public housing in poor inner cities. The authors support their position by describing the essential functions played by basic landscaping. Additionally, they argue that the potential benefits of landscaping in mitigating the harsh appearance of empty outdoor spaces, supporting health, and addressing levels of violence and crime in the Inner city far outweigh its modest cost.

The central question of the research is to assess if landscaping would be welcomed by the public. The approach consisted of presenting a sample of inner-city residents with different landscaping simulated scenarios of their neighbors to see which ones would impact their sense of safety and overall preference. Three factors were modified in the simulations: tree placement or arrangement, tree density, and degree of grass maintenance.

The findings indicated that landscaping would be welcomed, and residents were willing to participate in the greening process. The more trees and grass that were depicted in the courtyard, the more residents liked it and the more they felt safe if the views were not blocked. The most positive responses were to the simulation with the highest density of trees.

Region: Chicago, Illinois
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: crime, greenspace, landscape architecture, and residential