Aspects of a more just distribution of safety and security in cities (VERSS)

Sub-Project: Vulnerability, Safety, and Security in a Just City

Source:Flickr, Hipnos, Creative Commons Licence


Disaster Research Unit (DRU)

Branch office of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology


[Projektleitung verlinken]


Financial support:

BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung / Federal Minsitry of Education and Research)

Reference number: 13N13202

Partners in Cooperation:

Universität Tübingen – International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Universität Tübingen – Stiftungsprofessur für Kriminalprävention und Risikomanagement (SKR)

Bergische Universität Wuppertal – Institute for Security Systems (ISS)

FU Berlin - Disaster Research Unit (DRU)

Associated Partners:

City of Stuttgart

City of Wuppertal

Deutsch-Europäisches Forum für Urbane Sicherheit / German-European Forum for Urban Security (DEFUS)

Deutscher Präventionstag - Annual International Forum (DPTAIF)


Jun 15, 2014 — Jun 14, 2017

The theoretical and empirical aim of the sub-project is to generate in-depth understanding of the habitational and residential conditions of the various social milieus, which should then give forth to conclusions about the relationship between the subjective and objectified conceptions of safety and security. Upon the basis of our theoretical analysis, the principle practical goal of the project is to develop a process for negotiation, with which a (more) just distribution of safety and security in the city can be achieved.

To achieve these overarching objectives of the project, various theoretical approaches (security, vulnerability and milieu research, theory of space, and urban sociology) will be applied, combined, and consolidated into a theoretical framework. Taking advantage of the foundational insights as provided by disaster research, the projects aims to develop novel indicators to measure the subjective perceptions of safety, security, and vulnerability, as well as indicators for ascertaining resource related vulnerability.

In order to paint a picture of proper depth and breadth, we are combining both quantitative and qualitative methodologies in our empirical investigation.

  1. During the statistical evaluation we will investigate relations between differing characteristics of subjective safety, security, and vulnerability perceptions, as well as the connection to social milieus.
  2. Although feelings of unsafety may compel people to avoid certain spaces, the measures put in place to produce or enact safety and security can themselves also have exclusionary consequences. Therefore, the project will investigate the relationship safety perception have with the spatial distribution of social milieus, as well as derive various insights as to the relationship between segregation processes and safety perception.
  3. Due to the fact that (un)safety/(in)security is unequally distributed within cities and the fact that agencies and organizations tasked with public safety and security develop their own understanding of the situation with specific subjective criteria, our project will juxtapose the perspectives of the urban residents with the risk assessments from said organizations.
  4. Through the evaluation of qualitative datasets we give special attention to the perception of vulnerability, safety, and security from influential regulatory, normative, and cognitive institutions, as well as closely examine the causes which change perceptions of unsafety.

This catalogue of research points touches upon many important questions: questions which concern the contemporary and future just distribution of safety and security in cities and the politics of planning thereof.


Project brochure