Different societies produce different strategies and interventions for securing private and public spaces, which range from spatial segregation (e.g. gated communities) to the control of accesses, use of road bollards, installation of closed-circuit television system, and other techniques of crime prevention through environmental design.
Given the worldwide growing economic gap between the lower and the upper classes, human sciences have kept focusing their attention on class differences and its consequences. However, they have mainly concentrated their analysis on how the poor and the low-middle classes inhabit the space or might be evicted from it.
Our research aims instead at highlighting how a sense  of ‘safety’ and ‘security’ is perceived and reproduced by upper-classes classes and how it modifies the urban territory. On the one hand, we intend to detect eventual prejudices in the perception of risk and safety and on the other hand we aim to make specific urban trends ‘recognizable’ and ‘manageable’ by local institutions.
The research group will thus concentrate on specific gentrified areas of Brussels, Porto Alegre, Veneto region and analyse the adopted environmental strategies which, in turn, supposedly increased the perception of safety or eventually diminished social anxiety in relation to crime. Through a multidisciplinary approach we aim at focusing on the different strategies (from material to immaterial) of appropriation and defence of space that the higher classes have developed in order to create a secure, comfortable environment for them, their families and businesses. In order to do this, the research aims at highlighting how a sense of ‘safety’  and ‘security’  is perceived and reproduced by these classes and how it modifies the urban territory. The final objective is to understand if a sense of safety and security can be produced with other means than building physical obstacles and barriers that result in a highly divided city.

Reducing Boundaries is a Marie Curie European project
FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES
Leading institution:
University Iuav of Venice – prof. Emanuela Bonini Lessing
Other institutions:
Centro Universitário La Salle  -
Latitude – Fabio Vanin