COVID-19 Risk Perception in Urban and Architectural Environments
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The COVID-19 pandemic presented a profound challenge for cities. Cities are designed to maximize the benefits of density, yet this same density becomes a liability during an outbreak of a socially communicable infection. How did members of the general public perceive COVID-19 transmission risk in the urban and architectural environments they live in? And what effect do these perceptions have on pandemic-safe behaviours? The aim of this dissertation was to answer these questions using the methodologies of research psychology. Across five experiments, it was demonstrated that members of the general public hold complex perceptions of COVID-19 risk in urban and architectural environments, and utilize different visible and non-visible features to render judgments about risk. Moreover, risk perception consistently held a significant positive relationship with the likelihood to engage in pandemic-safe behaviours. These results provide insight on the subjective experience of citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, and offer designers and policymakers information about human behaviour and psychology during this time of crisis. The results from these investigations are summarized in the form of design and policy insights so that designers can create spaces that are perceived as safe, and so that public policymakers can create more nuanced public health policy interventions that leverage the intrinsic motivation of citizens to protect themselves against the risk of infection. Given the inevitability of future pathogen outbreaks, the results from this dissertation stand to make a meaningful contribution to the fight to keep citizens safe during these times of crisis.
Cite this version of the work
David Borkenhagen (2023). COVID-19 Risk Perception in Urban and Architectural Environments. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19898