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Oscar Newmans Defensible Space - Book Report/Review Example

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Oscar Newman coined the term "Defensible Space" in 1972. Describe what he meant by this and discuss whether or not his concept could be applied to your own work environment. Describe and evaluate some of the subsequent work that has sought to refine Newman's original theories…
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Oscar Newmans Defensible Space
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Download file to see previous pages The publication puts forward arguments debating the breakdown of society and the loss of community values and the consequent negative impact this has had on neighborhoods and how they both react and respond to crime. Based on the principal that pride of place and community cohesion has been replaced by social exclusion, fear of involvement and lack of trust amongst citizens within some local communities, Newman's concept of Defensible Space sought to allocate large public spaces of land for collaborative development and design by the local residents themselves.
Newman piloted his scheme within a number of different communities. In Dayton Ohio smaller neighborhoods were generated within large communities. Street modifications such as cul-de-sacs helped to reduce traffic and crime and cheaper affordable rental properties were developed. In Yonkers, New York large communities of low income families living in high rise apartments were re-housed into more affluent areas. (Newman, 1996)
Results from these studies were mixed and predominantly focused on public housing issues. During the 1970's other similar studies were taking place in different country's that successfully confirmed improvements in design features and the input from local residents could result in a positive reduction in overall crime rates.
Good use of sufficient lighting both externally in the s...
(Taylor, 1998)
Real and symbolic barriers:
Clearly marked residential boundaries with the emphasis on creating smaller, more manageable spaces to encourage pride and self-ownership; including the use of fences, locked gates and high walls.
Residential Surveillance:
Good use of sufficient lighting both externally in the streets and to be placed in Interior spaces including lobbies and stairways. This in turn would generate more of a sense of security and comfort amongst residents at night.
Non-stereotypical buildings for lower income residents:
With the emphasis on using better materials and a more thought out architectural approach to the overall appearance of buildings housing lower socio-economic groups.
Residential housing to be located away from non-threatening areas:
Housing for local residents should not be situated near to large industrial areas, unsafe unlit parklands or large commercial buildings and open spaces that can typically attract insalubrious characters.
The focus of Newman's theories was not however to fight crime, but to defend personal spaces by creating areas that would ultimately promote empowerment and confidence amongst its residents. Pride in domestic ownership. Newman's philosophies developed the notion that simple measures can be taken that effect behavior and attitude, rather than coming into direct conflict with the criminals themselves. Nonetheless Newman did come up for a great deal of criticism with his early research and was accused of staging residential areas or preselecting locations that he knew would respond positively to his theories in practice. That communities demonstrated low crime rates and good neighborhood regeneration without the use of his methods.
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