Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dissertation proposal part 2

What role can designers play in altering the way in which we behave within society?

By designing out opportunity the likelihood of crime occurring is reduced. (Author unknown, ‘Designing out crime’)

Researching the connection between behaviour and the design of an environment, it is clear to see that there is a valid link between the two. Looking into different case studies, it is interesting to understand how different designs can contribute to our overall experience of an area.
There are many different examples in the way that we are influenced by the environment around us. One particularly interesting hypothesis is ‘The broken window theory’ which highlights how something as minor as a broken window can send the signal to an individual that matters like those are overlooked within the community. One broken window suggests that no one is bothered by the issue, so another is broken, then another and another…a vicious circle. The theory suggests that in turn we can solve the bigger issues by tackling the little ones first.
Dealing with these smaller issues, many designers try and introduce simple things into an environment to encourage a positive relationship between itself and the people occupying the space. With the ambition of reducing crime and its effects, these designers try and understand the area and the people who occupy it before creating a design solution. Considering what will work and what will not in a specific context can be vital in making sure that these methods will work to the best of their ability. Countless studies are constantly being tested within different areas and there is a surplus amount of case studies available discussing the effectiveness of these methods and those that have proven to be not as successful such as ‘Designing out crime’, ‘Street management and city design’ and ‘Measuring crime prevention through environmental design’.

‘Evidence based problem solving approaches appear to be an effective method in reducing crime and disorder’ (Hub pages, Crime and the community.)

Repeatedly, it is highlighted that the research stages are crucial within the design process when creating an effective design solution. Studying an area thoroughly in the beginning allows designers to gain a better appreciation of the context and clients that they are designing for. Influencing the way in which we behave, they talk about the many beneficial methods that can be introduced at planning stages. Using a variety of research methods such as observations, surveys, recordings, etc, a broad set of results can be gathered and used, for example in brainstorming groups with design teams.
Crime cannot be solved by one individual organisation so the underlying message being stressed is that for the best results everyone has to work together. Merging designers from different disciplines we can create better and more innovative design solutions by combining knowledge and utilising the large skill sets available. Teams with a mixture of disciplines conduct this extensive research, with some members working independently on tasks, where the results are discussed and ‘ripped to shreds’ – creating a varied and honest response.
Working alongside local people within these communities provides the design teams with an open response. Engaging with the people who witness what happens in the environment first hand allows them to gain a deeper insight into the issues that they are trying to design for. Creating techniques that will draw out all these different opinions and views from the people within this area is crucial and it is important that the designers consider this when generating these research methods.
When analysing these communities it is essential to bear in mind the different problems that occur in each. It is much harder for designers to create prevention designs for old environments because it is more difficult for them to alter the existing framework of the society. Challenging designers to think more cleverly, they must try and utilise the setting already there and introduce new methods to add prevention, things like lighting and fences are much easier to alter than the orientation of buildings. With each area requiring a different approach into tackling crime it is essential that the team designing it out are sympathetic to the environment - with each area having different needs it is crucial that the research methods used when gathering this data are appropriate. By looking at the stimuli that can cause people to commit crimes and designing to alter these we can make an attempt to create safer communities.

Understanding why it is that humans interact within a space is vital when designing for a client as sometimes we must seek to provoke a certain response from individuals. Selecting a specific environment and comparing two different areas within this as a case study would allow me to observe how people behave in a specific way. Looking at crime prevention methods that have already been introduced into the area would allow me to discuss whether or not these were effective or not and what effect they have had on society.

Interacting with the people who are at the heart of the community will provide an honest insight into the whole environment, highlighting information that might otherwise have been overlooked.
>Interviews – broad or focussed set of results. Incorporate images alongside text?
>Observation studies on the environment
>Town planning documents (Glenrothes – planned: 1940s) (Compare a older area with a newly designed area)
>Work alongside Police officers/community liaison officers
>Crime statistics over a period of time
>Video recordings – allows repeated viewing

Stimuli, prevention, crime, design, environment, behaviour, roles, planning, self worth, community.

Expanded bibliography:
Author and date of publication unknown, 'Designing out crime', Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Planning Information Office, London.

Discussing how crime prevention methods can be introduced from the planning stages, the supplementary planning document highlights the benefits from this. By designing out crime the impact that this can have on individuals and the community are untold. ‘Good planning and design have a major role to play in reducing crime and thus people’s fear of it’. Crime can occur due to a number of factors but one that is argued in this document that can help combat it is design. Incorporating successfully proven methods of prevention into the design of our community, the vulnerability of people and their property can be reduced.

Berg, L van der 2006, The Safe City, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hants.

Discussing issues of attracting people to a certain area and the safety issues that surround an individual’s decision, Berg looks at 11 cities all over the world and talks largely about the ideas surrounding safety within these cities. He highlights that even though crime rates have dropped in 8 of the eleven cities, the fear of crime has risen within all of them. Analysing different methods which could contribute to this fear, the author explores topics such as media influences, the quality of the area in which we live, inequality, etc. Upbringing, location, sex, race and age can all contribute to these factors and our overall perception of insecurity and our fear of a space but Berg looks into these in more detail to provide us with answers with what could really be the cause of our fear.

Chang, D 2011, ‘Social crime or spatial crime exploring the effects of social, economical, and spatial factors on burglary rates’, Sage publications INC, vol. 43, no. 1 and pp. 26-52.

Talking primarily about space – crime, Chang talks about three main factors: social factor of building use patterns, economical factor of building values and two spatial factors, namely, the configurational factor of urban space structures investigating the configurational factors of intelligibility and integration. Considering all the factors that influence the way in which we all behave, we are presented with many that we may not even have considered to be influential.

Clarke, R.V. & Newman, G.R. 2005, Designing out crime, Criminal Justice Press, United States of America.

Looking at the little things within our daily lives that can be altered, Clarke and Newman talk about design solutions that have been introduced into society to aid against crime. Talking about the overall design, both advantages and disadvantages of the design is portrayed.

Crowe, T.D 2000, Crime prevention through environmental design: applications of architectural design and space management concepts, Butterworth – Heinemann publications, United States of America.

‘For over 5000 years, architects have used design and space management concepts to manipulate human behaviour.’
Bearing this in mind, Crowe demonstrates the mistakes that have occurred over the years in community development, urban planning and architectural design even though different methods over history have been recorded. Ignoring this historical knowledge, he looks at why designs have not worked and others that have been successful.

Davies, G 2006, Crime, neighbourhood and public housing, LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC, London.

With a certain stigma attached to public housing, this text looks at different angles surrounding the subject. Serving as a backdrop to which many criminal activities take place many people apply stereotypes to this type of housing forgetting that no two are the same. Davies presents us with valid research and information applying to both the positive and negative connotations attached.

Dearing, J 2005, 'Designing out crime', Planning, Transport and Highways Service Unit, London Bourough of Sutton.

This planning document talks about the different ways in which crime can not only affect the people within the community but the way in which the community functions. Highlighting the methods of prevention can not only be introduced to new developments, we are also made aware of what prevention methods can be introduced into older environments too. Making extensive use of pictures and diagrams the document is very easy to follow and understand fully what methods are effective and what ones are more likely to promote crime.

Fowler, E.P 1987, ‘Street management and city design’, University of North Carolina Press, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 365-389

This journal explores the relationship between human behaviour and the physical environment, begging the question are we really influenced by our surroundings? After being presented with a large number of different experiments that have been carried out to argue the point of relationship between behaviour and context the author concludes that the only way one could possibly test this theory is to create many different diverse cities. Pushing boundaries to offer a wider spectrum of results to be gathered would be necessary so that conclusions can be clearer cut but is something that is also altered impossible as we ourselves render an environment to suit our own needs no matter how they have been designed.
Viewed 13 November 2010

With the ambition of reducing crime and its effects, the design against crime team aim to create better object, service and public designs by understanding both the user and the criminal. They highlight that is important to consider what techniques are required in creating the best possible concept as understanding the crime is crucial in progressing forward. Working with designers, community groups, crime prevention professionals, local government and industry, the team can gather lots of research that they can apply to their designs. The aim of the designs are to reduce crime and address security issues we as a society may face but without compromising the aspects of the overall design.
Viewed 13 November 2010

Presenting us with numerous case studies this website aims to educate into the main causes of crime. Documenting the types of practice which have been proven successful in reducing crime and its effects, Design Against Crime wants to give designers the confidence to tackle this problem using their own designs. Providing information for design professionals, industry and commerce that highlight the success of products already in use to encourage more of us to do something about prevention, we are given countless examples with the underlying message that we are willing to fight crime.
Viewed 13 November 2010

Understanding that no two communities are the same it is important for designers to remember this when researching into different areas when developing crime preventing designs. Stating that crime cannot be solved by one individual organisation, the message being given is that for the best results everyone has to work together. ‘Evidence based problem solving approaches appear to be an effective method in reducing crime and disorder’ which only heightens the argument that for any design to be effective it is crucial that an environment is researched fully to create the best possible solution. Understanding what will work and what will not in a specific context will be vital in making sure that these methods will work to the best of their ability.

Gladwell, M 2000, The Tipping Point, Little Brown, Great Britain

Specifically looking at the chapter called ‘The Power of Context, Part 1’ there are many different examples in the way that we are influenced by the environment around us. Making reference to ‘The Broken Window Theory’, this is something that could possibly be explored further during the dissertation process as it talks about how something as minor as a broken window can send the signal to an individual that matters like these are overlooked within the community. Starting with the little things, Gladwell suggests that we can solve the bigger problems.

Gosling, S 2008, Snoop, Profile books Ltd, London

Not primarily looking at the way in which the environment we are placed in effects the way in which we behave, this book explores the different stimuli that we react to. Studying the way in which we project ourselves, Gosling and his team of psychologists learn a great day about a person from the way in which they positions things within a space but also the everyday signals we. Stressing the importance that our everyday lives can have on our character, they look at the cues within an environment that can trigger these.

Gottfredson, S. & Taylor, R. B. 1986, ‘Environmental Design, Crime, and Prevention: An Examination of Community Dynamics’, The University of Chicago Press, vol. 8, pp. 387-416

Discussing the cognitive process in which criminals undertake before committing a crime is the main focus of this journal. Understanding what these thoughts may be allow designers to be a step ahead of the criminals and design these opportunities out. Using different case studies, the ideas behind this theme are discussed and the effects that environmental design can impose of the crime rates within an area are raised.

Jewson, N. & MacGregor, S 1997, Transforming cities, Routledge, London.

Analysing the way in which our cities have changed over the last decades of the twentieth century and the dramatic transformations that many of these have undergone. Focussing on these changes, the book explores the effects that these modernizing changes can have on the environment and the people that live within it.

Jones, H 1993, Crime and the urban environment, Ashgate publishing limited, Hants.

Arguing that the roots of crime stem from the environment, this book concentrates on highlighting elements within our society that can be responsible for the detrimental effects within our setting. Looking at different locations, it signals that different areas have different problems which affect people in diverse ways.

Lim, B. & Minnery J. R. 2005, ‘Measuring crime prevention through environmental design’, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 330-341

Arguing that many professions claim to have reduced crime in a specific area, this paper disputes these claims as many are rarely evaluated to access aspects such as effectiveness and efficiency. Measuring the effectiveness in two residential areas participating in two Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design programs, the paper talks about the process undertaken and the data gathered. Concluding that we as a society tend to generalise crime to be a problem for every area here it is highlighted that every community is different and the problem of crime can be on a very different scale in each environment, e.g. from small to moderate. It is important that the results gathered are used to convey a message rather than create one.

Peterman, W 2000, Neighbourhood planning and community-based development, Sage publications, United States of America.

Exploring the many different combinations which can be placed within an environment to create an inviting environment, Peterman discusses largely the thought process involved in this process. For successful neighbourhoods to occur, he argues that it not only requires the design to be correct but also for the local communities to take pride in the environment in which the inhabit and marshal together as a group.

Press, M, Erol, R, Cooper, R & Thomas, M 2000, 'Design against crime', Design Management Institute conference, Frankfurt.

Highlighting the extent as to which businesses within the UK are including design reduction methods within their practice, this journal aims to discuss the methods that are used by these businesses. Presenting both successful and unsuccessful methods adopted, the points mainly discussed are those methods that have not been so successful and why this may have happened. Understanding what it is that makes a person commit a crime is vital when trying to design this out.

Schneider R.H & Kitchen, T 2007, Crime prevention and the built environment, British Library Cataloguing, Oxen.

Looking at urban design concept, we are presented with different methods undertaken in the design process in creating crime deterring environments. The impact that this prevention has had on these various environments are also presented to us in a manner that is very easy to interpret.

Stollard, P 1990, Crime prevention through housing design, Spon, London.

Trying to defer crime can be a daunting task for a designer especially when the research area surrounding the topic is vast. This book aims to provide sufficient amounts of knowledge for those individuals when trying to prevent crime for their designs. Appreciating that no two environments are the same, the Stollard suggests that the process leading to the solutions are the same.

Sykes, J 1979, Designing against vandalism, Heinemann Educational Books LTD, London.

With vandalism always being a large problem in our socities this book discusses the issues surrounding vandalism and the stereotypes associated with these. Presenting us with prevention methods that have been adopted by societies, case studies highlight the effectiveness of some methods and those that have been unsuccessful and why.

Taylor, R. B. 1996, ‘Neighbourhood responses to disorder and local attachments: the systemic model of attachment, social disorganization, and neighbourhood use value’, Sociological Forum, vol. 11, no.1, pp. 41-74.

Taylor purposely sets out to highlight the differences between neighbourhoods and investigates the level of responses to disorder. Arguing that the way to help reduce crime is by creating deeper bonds with the people within a community, is just one of the ways he believes could help tackle this major problem we face. He clearly delivers his ideas, educating us with the key facts needed to understand his arguments.

Weisburd, D 1998, Crime mapping and crime prevention, Willow Trees Press, United States of America.

Crime mapping is a very fast way to visually understand the areas affected by crime. Arguing that this method has both positive and negative features, the book places these next to one another so that we can compare these issues. A positive of this being that it acts as a tool to aid us in looking at crime clusters and crime displacement. On the negative side, it requires individuals using this device to study and understand what they are looking at fully.

Could babies' faces reduce crime?

After looking at the topic of crime and design for my dissertation, specifically "What role can designers play in crime prevention within the urban environment and how this can influence society as a whole", this was one angle that I did not come across when researching the topic.

One section in my dissertation focussed largely on the London Riots and what people believed to be the cause of these. There was so many case studies I trolled through and many people offered their opinions on why they believed the riots occurred. Referring to a book I read in my second year of University "The Tipping Point", there is a chapter in this book which is of most interest to this topic - "The Power of Context". In this chapter it talks about our susceptibility to our surroundings and how certain stimuli in these can cause us to behave in a certain way. So what really was the reason for the riots occurring? According to Malcolm Gladwell who is the author of "The Tipping Point", there is not just one reason for causing certain events to happen but a whole series. So will painting babies on a wall really reduce crime?

An experiment is being run in South - East London at the moment to see if this really can help play a part in crime reduction. In an area that was badly hit by looters in the riots, these babies appear after shop opening hours when the shop shutters come down and watch over the area. According to studies from as long ago as the 1940s, the effect that seeing an image has on a baby has on an adult creates a positive response.

After compiling research throughout my dissertation, I am yet to be convinced this is a worthwhile method of crime prevention...

Read more.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Life after University.

Wow. What a whirlwind. I don't even know where the last year has gone. Actually the past four years.

In the past four years, I've studied in Dundee, made some great friends, studied in Belgium, made some great friends, got engaged, graduated with a First Class Honours... I've changed so much as a designer and learnt new skills that will last a lifetime.

Rewind 5 years, I was a young naive school girl. Choosing my choices for University, I remember thinking that 4 years would give me plenty of time to decide what I wanted to be when I was a "big girl". Well 5 years later and I still don't know. Studying Interior and Environmental Design at DJCAD was the best experience I could ever have hoped for at University. The support I was given as young designer was amazing and helped develop me in so many areas of creativity.

Post University life now and the job hunt is on. As Coldplay once said "nobody said it was easy" and they could not have been more right. Scrolling through screeds and screeds of jobs, day after day... I'm a determined person though and I don't want to be another graduate without a job in their chosen discipline. I know that if I keep working hard that eventually Lady Luck will throw some of her luck in my direction. Until then, que sera.