Linear parks and urban neighbourhoods: A study of the crime impact of the Boston South-west Corridor

K. Crewe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This study tests the crime impact of the Boston South-west Corridor parkland, a 5-mile transit and linear park, on its adjoining neighbourhoods 15 years after its completion in the early 1980s. The study responds to concerns of local neighbourhoods during the time of planning and construction, and to evidence of general public uneasiness about the dangers of linear parks to communities. In an analysis of two residential neighbourhoods adjoining the corridor, the study searched first for evidence of crime spill-over from the corridor, and secondly for neighbours' perceptions of corridor safety. To test crime spill-over, police calls from houses adjacent to the corridor were compared with calls from houses further away; interviews with residents investigated perceptions of the corridor's safety. Findings revealed that though police calls were marginally more frequent from houses next to the corridor, these were considerably less frequent than calls from houses next to commercial streets. Interviews with residents revealed generally positive estimates of park safety by day, with low estimates of night-time safety and mixed estimates of its safety during twilight hours. Interviews also revealed heavy reliance on the corridor by the elderly and people with small children. The study concludes with recommendations for the future design of linear parks in cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-264
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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