Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Safe neighbourhoods: the role of design Anyone who thought agencies like CABE were a waste of public money should look away now. In their current status as part of the Design Council, using material generated in their previous independence, CABE have produced a set of clear, directive briefing papers on Creating safe places to live through design. They are well worth spending time on. There are six case studies augmented by a summary of lessons learned. The summary hits four main issues: Parking and problems associated with parking are 'a major source of neighbour disputes, anti-social behaviour and in some cases criminal damage and assault'. Issues discussed include paying attention to where visitors are likely to park. Design quality… Specific elements that need extra design input are: 'Corner properties – they are at greater risk of crime and need careful resolution to ensure they provide overlooking to both streets. Avoiding situations that expose rear access to dwellings – all dwellings should be the right way around with fronts and backs resolved properly for every dwelling. Ensure the movement network passes to the front (or if necessary overlooked sides) [of] dwellings rather than to the rear and is logical, fitting in with wider movement routes.' Management and maintenance strategies – noting problems resulting from the rise of buy-to-let properties owned by absentee landlords. Gating - 'strong perimeter security through gating is not a panacea for good design within a development. The highest crime scheme in the research was the only one that was gated.' The image below comes from the case study of the gated estate. Never mind the fencing and gating, the door appears to have been designed so that we can all keep prison life firmly in mind. (And what is that slit at the bottom of the door? Designed to make anyone delivering post bend down unnecessarily? Or is it a squat cat flap? Time to leave I think).

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