20 April 2012

Following the release of Oscar Newman's book "Defensible Space: Crime Prevention through Urban Design" in 1972, the idea that architecture could be used to limit criminal activity became popular. Today, "Secured by Design" encourages architects, planners and clients to include anti-crime measures in their designs.

This programme takes a look at what "Secured by Design" is for and how they work with architects, explaining the approval process for its "Design and Access Statement", the practical building and planning advice it provides, and showing how designers can gain "Secured by Design" accreditation. The programme also looks at the history and underlying theory of designing against crime, discussing whether it is a positive development for architecture and the built environment.

The following quotes provide an insight into the issue:

"Crime prevention becomes a relevant consideration in the planning process"

'Planning Out Crime', Department of Environment Circular 5/94 (superseded by Planning Policy Statement 1).

"The prevention of crime and the enhancement of community safety are matters that a local planning authority should consider when exercising its functions under the Town and Country Planning legislation."

Quoted in 'Safer Places: The Planning System and Crime Prevention', ODPM, 2004.

'Creating Defensible Space' (1996) by Oscar Newman, published by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Policy Development and Research. The full copy can be downloaded from: www.huduser.org/publications/pdf/def.pdf

About the contributors

Gary Fisher is a Senior Development Officer with the Association of Chief Police Officers "Secured by Design".

Alastair Donald is a Researcher at the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies in Cambridge.

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