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The role of environmental criminology in architecture Rondeau, Mary Beth

Abstract

Designing safer places is of interest to architects whose primary motivation is to create the best environment within the parameters of the design problem. Traditionally, since the time of Oscar Newman's theory of defensible space, architects have attempted to create safer places based on broad principles of surveillance and territoriality in the absence of detailed information on crime and nuisance activity. In the past quarter century, a large body of scientific research has been developed in the field of environmental criminology which illuminates the detailed circumstances as well as the background reasons of why crime happens. It is this thesis that this information is valuable to the practice of architecture and can be directly applicable. However, given that there is so little knowledge of crime out there, this information must developed into factual, well developed illustrations that allow the architect to develop a total framework of understanding. Once the framework is established and the architect incorporates the knowledge, it will take its place with the other numerous design parameters that compose the complex problem of architectural design. Architectural design, more that other types of design, is made up of both scientific knowledge and artistic knowledge. Incorporating this scientific research into the field of architecture must balance both endeavours.

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