Evaluating street safety for women in Halifax


  • Natasha Juckes School of Planning, Dalhousie University
  • Mikiko Terashima School of Planning, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University


Street safety, Women, Perceived safety, Multi-criteria analysis (MCA)


Factors that influence women’s perceptions of safety, and how these factors are spatially distributed in Canadian cities, are understudied. This case study determined key factors that affect perception of safety in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A survey asked participants to choose from a list of factors identified in empirical literature those that most positively or negatively affected their perceptions of safety. Media portrayal and stories from friends was a significant negative factor on perceptions of safety; presence of people on the street was the most important positive factor. A weighted multi-criteria analysis (MCA) created a proxy for levels of perceived safety across streetscapes, showing which streets are most likely to be perceived as safe or unsafe by women. Findings suggest that women feel safer when the number of people on the street is increased, which can be achieved through mixed-use areas.