Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(24); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.062419.

Gender-Inclusive Urban Design: Insights from Eye-Tracking Research


Xinqiao Su

Corresponding Author:
Xinqiao Su

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 510630


Safety stands as the fundamental and paramount prerequisite for urban livability. The perception of safety significantly influences individuals' quality of life and mental well-being. Elevating personal safety levels, particularly for women who continue to experience safety concerns in modern cities, is imperative. This research delves into the influence of diverse urban facility designs on people's sense of security. Participants were exposed to images portraying distinct street views: one illuminated with ample nighttime lighting, and the other shrouded in darkness with a distant light source. Each image featured indistinct human figures nearby, symbolizing potential safety risks. Participants' gaze patterns, indicative of their visual attention, were recorded using an eye tracker. The eye-tracking data facilitated the acquisition of quantitative results. Data analyses revealed heightened sensitivity to figures in dark scenarios compared to well-lit environments. Females had more need of lighting in both scenarios. Additionally, in darker settings, compared to males, females exhibited more fixation behaviors towards distant light sources, signifying increased anxiety and a proactive effort to seek safety elements to mitigate risks. The underlying reasons for this gender-based difference are discussed. This study underscores the critical need to enhance females' feelings of safety and address the actual safety conditions they encounter. The findings offer insights and guidance for human-centered transformations in urban design, contributing to the creation of a more gender-inclusive society and fostering the well-being of residents, especially women.


Gender inclusive city, Lighting, Urban design, Urban facility, Eye tracking, Security, Female

Cite This Paper

Xinqiao Su. Gender-Inclusive Urban Design: Insights from Eye-Tracking Research. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 24: 113-118. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.062419.


[1] Huang Dengkai, Wang Guoguang, & Chen Zhiyun. (2020). Study on the influence of students in Guangzhou University Town. Southern Architecture (4), 7.

[2] Favro D, Weisman L K. (1994). Discrimination by Design: A Feminist Critique of the Man-Made Environment. 81(2), 834.

[3] Momeni M, Rostami S. (2016). Organization of Urban Spaces with Emphasis on Women’s Safety: A Case Study in Noor Abad Mamasani, Iran. Cities.

[4] Greed, C. (2019). Are we still not there yet? Moving further along the gender highway. Integrating gender into transport planning: From one to many tracks, 25-42.

[5] Uteng, P. T., & Turner, J. (2019). Addressing the Linkages between Gender and Transport in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Sustainability, 11(17), 4555.

[6] Terraza, H., Orlando, M. B., Lakovits, C., Lopes Janik, V., & Kalashyan, A. (2020). Handbook for gender-inclusive urban planning and design.

[7] Boomsma, C., & Steg, L. (2014). Feeling safe in the dark: Examining the effect of entrapment, lighting levels, and gender on feelings of safety and lighting policy acceptability. Environment and Behavior, 46(2), 193-212.

[8] Teng, J. R. (2014). Feminist architectural theory. Beijing: China State Engineering and Construction Press.

[9] Rahman, L., & Rao, V. (2004). The determinants of gender equity in India: examining Dyson and Moore's thesis with new data. Population and Development Review, 30(2), 239-268.

[10] Fisher, J., Reed, B., Vidal, J., Sissons, C., Lafreniere, J., & Hastie, R. (2018). Lighting the Way: Lighting, sanitation and the risk of gender-based violence.

[11] Violent crime. (2018). FBI. Available at: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/violent-crime (Accessed: October 17, 2023).

[12] Wei, J., & Ruan, M. (2011). An empirical study on the sense of security of Chinese urban residents — based on surveys in three cities: Beijing, Zhengzhou, and Kunming. Journal of Beijing University of Technology: Social Sciences Edition, 11(6), 8.

[13] Lu Guoxian. (2017). Influencing factors and urban security countermeasures —— Take Taizhou as an example. Journal of People's Public Security University of China (Social Science Edition), 2017 (4).

[14] Salmani, A., Saberian, O., Amiri, H., Bastami, M., & Shemshad, M. (2015). Study on urban parks Environmental safety in Women Viewpoints based on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Approach (Case study: Valiasar Park, Shahr-e-Qods, Tehran, Iran).

[15] Shen, M., & Wang, Y. (2022). Gender differences in individual characteristics, income level, and policing risk perception — based on an empirical study in 460 communities. Chinese Administration, 1(9).

[16] Wu, L., & Cheng, Y. (2015). Interpretation of gender difference in public space: based on the theoretical perspective of integration. Human Geography, 30(1), 5.

[17] Klaus, Patsy A. “The Crime of Rape.” Bureau of Justice Statistics, bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/crime-rape-0. Accessed 14 Nov. 2023. 

[18] Ren, D. (2019). Research on the optimization of walking space around large commercial buildings based on women's sense of security (Master's Thesis, Harbin Institute of Technology).