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Physical and psychological factors associated with perceptions of crowding: An analysis of subcultural differences.

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Abstract

Determined whether psychological and physical factors that had been previously associated with perceptions of environmental crowding differed with the cultural characteristics of urban residents. 697 working and nonworking White, Black, and Chicano residents of Riverside-San Bernardino, California, were surveyed to ascertain perceived crowding in the residence, neighborhood, and city. Multiple regression analysis showed that psychological factors indicative of the impact of physical conditions on the individual provided the best explanation for the perception of crowding for White Ss. Black and Chicano groups, however, tended to view crowding at each of the analysis levels in terms of the total urban "gestalt," associating physical measures beyond their implicated impact. (43 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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... Some studies (e.g. Anderson 1972; Chau 1983; Rooney 2003; Schmidt, Goldman, and Feimer 1976) also illustrated that Asians or Chinese are more adaptable to high density living environments. When density itself is a factor to be considered (as explicitly stated in the HKPSG), Hong Kong people may regard it as a low-priority factor and tend to disregard it. ...
... Tolerance of crowding is related to socioeconomic background, age, education, culture, and previous living environments. People who have previously lived in a high density, crowded environment are less likely to feel crowded than someone who lives in a more spacious environment [48][49][50]. In Australia, we have relatively low population density relative to other countries; however, Australians are still likely to have experienced situations of crowding, such as at a sporting event or music concert and thus can still imagine discomfort at being crowded or "crammed" into a small space. ...
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Chapter
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Chapter
With the growing concern over the quality of life in our large urban centers, the topic of human crowding has taken on importance as a contemporary research problem. The observable conditions of overpopulation and the recognized trend toward increasing urbanization on a worldwide basis (Davis, 1965) have led social scientists and urban designers alike to pose questions about the impact of density on the lives of city residents. Despite the rapidly increasing body of literature dealing with this area, however, primary questions still remain unanswered, namely: What is the relationship between population density and the individual’s perception of crowding in his living environment, and what are the psychological and physiological consequences of being crowded on a long-term basis?
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This Chapter seeks to examine the high-rise living experience of two high-density cities: Hong Kong and Singapore. The aim is to investigate the difference in residents' perception of tall building and tall building living between Hong Kong and Singapore to arrive at an understanding of: is there a relationship between how tall a person thinks a tall building is and his/her preference for life in high-rise buildings? The answer is pertinent to the debates on future urban density. Various urban scholars including Jacobs (1961) have long argued for proper density for urban dwellers. Ill-health, anxiety, isolation, for example, are some negative attributes of improper density ratios, commonly associated with high-rise living (Conway & Adams, 1977; Jephcott & Robinson, 1971). However, as explained in Chapter 1, tall buildings can help to mitigate some of the negative effects of high density.
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Chapter
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This article examines crowding in San Francisco's Chinatown and the attitudes and perceptions of its residents, using self-reported interview survey data. The objectives of the study were to test the validity of conjectures prevalent in the literature about the Chinese and crowding, to test Wirth's theory that crowding is related to psychological stress and social conflict, and to provide a fuller understanding of the nature of crowding and of density. Findings were contrary to the beliefs held about Chinese attitudes toward crowding; Chinatown residents evaluated crowding as undesirable and harmful. Personal effects of crowding included environmental health problems, social conflict, and psychological stress. Simultaneously, for a disadvantaged population, Wirth's theory was supported. Also, cultural background and environmental referent significantly predicted perceived crowding at the neighborhood level but did not affect perceptions of crowding at the dwelling level. Perceptions of dwelling crowding were instead heavily influenced by objective indices, that is, number of persons and number of rooms. Findings suggested that extended exposure to crowding breeds greater dislike for crowding at the micro level and that crowding in a primary environment is deemed more undesirable than crowding in a secondary environment.
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In this research the relation between residential density, locus of control, and crowding perception was studied. It was hypothesized that the results of a crowding perception scale would depend on the residential density to which people were subjected in their housing situation and on their locus of control scores. The study was done in a neighborhood made up of single-family dwellings in the city of Maracay, Venezuela. A sample of 496 women was selected, and the results partially support the hypotheses.
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It is widely believed that cultures vary in their tolerance for crowding. There is, however, little evidence to substantiate this belief, coupled with serious shortcomings in the extant literature. Tolerance for crowding has been confused with cultural differences in personal space preferences along with perceived crowding. Furthermore, the few studies that have examined cultural variability in reactions to crowding have compared subgroup correlations, which is not equivalent to a statistical interaction. Although the authors found a statistical interaction indicating that Asian Americans and Latin Americans differ in the way they perceive crowding in comparison to their fellow Anglo-American and African American citizens, all four ethnic groups suffer similar, negative psychological distress sequelae of high-density housing. These results hold independently of household income.
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PIP The author reviews the existing literature on density and crowding from a geographical perspective, with a focus on the concerns of urban geographers. Several types of empirical studies are described and reviewed, and research on models of crowding is outlined.
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