Is illegal dumping associated with some urban designs? Evidence from fix my street data, Brussels

Guyot, Madeleine and Thomas, Isabelle and Vanwambeke, Sophie O.; (2022) Is illegal dumping associated with some urban designs? Evidence from fix my street data, Brussels. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 802-809. ISBN 9781914241161

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The design of the urban streetscape influences our way of perceiving the city but also affects behaviour and well-being. In this paper, we analyse if incivilities and more particularly illegal dumping are related to the urban context, at a micro scale (presence of trees, sidewalk width,...) and a meso scale (urban fabric typology: historical, residential, industrial,…). Illegal dumping is costly for the community, is a major inconvenience for residents, and can lead to a feeling of insecurity. To simplify the reporting of nuisances, apps have been developed for citizens such as Fix My Street, launched in Brussels, Belgium in 2013. It enables to report incidents such as broken public lamps or blocked sewer. An 'Illegal dump' category was added in 2017 and has since become the most reported type of incident: between July 2017 and February 2020, 46 744 illegal dumps were reported. We investigate what urban streetscape features are associated with such reports in Brussels. Unfortunately, the use of Fix My Street is not spatially uniform nor exhaustive. To avoid this selection bias, we compare illegal dumps with a control group composed of other types of incidents (n=56,122). Logistic regressions (presence/absence) are performed to explore the association between illegal dumping and some urban morphometrics. Results show that the urban environment is associated with the probability of illegal dumping. On a meso scale, we observe fewer illegal dumps in office neighbourhoods and the green periphery, and many more in the historical fabric. On a micro scale, the typical street where dumping takes place is a narrow, quiet residential street with urban trees. A "broken window" effect is also observed: illegal dumping are more likely to reappear where there has already been a dump.

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