Creating territories and physical boundaries within buildings and public spaces, is termed as hierarchy of a defensible space. The conversion from private to public space is important and demands efficient management. Through the sub division of zones (private to public), the character of one’s own territory is defined and thereby managed.
Private space – An area under total control of the occupant, and not physically connected to the public
Semi private space – An area under the control of the occupant, but visually and physically accessible by the public Semi public space – An area accessible to the public, and under the control of a specific group of occupants. Public space – An area for the public
Territoriality therefore defines the hierarchy of the space, and develops the idea of having one’s own territory. This discourages outsiders from entering into private zones and reduces the risk of anonymity.
This can be achieved if the following design features are implemented in the planning process (Colquhoun, 2003, 41)
All the spaces inside as well as outside the building should be under natural surveillance by the residents and under their influence.
All the external spaces should be seen as public spaces and should be clearly demarcated from the internal spaces with the help of symbolic barriers like gates, fences, walls, levels, steps, gateways etc.
If the housing density is high, separate staircase entrances should be designed per building block so that there should be no confusion in recognizing a stranger.
External communal areas such as parks, green open spaces should be in the vicinity of the building and where ever possible should be entered from the private zone.
Surveillance – Positioning and locating the windows and doors such that it increases surveillance to the outside surrounding. Opportunity to commit crime is potentially reduced when the offender senses that he/she is under constant surveillance from the adjoining buildings. Surveillance helps to create a feeling of security by providing the residents with their own territory and defending it through the overlooking windows, doors and entrances to the outside surroundings.
Windows should be positioned such that it suits the internal plan of the house as well as provides surveillance to the outside surrounding.
Front entrances of the buildings should be designed from the main road, main streets and pedestrian areas so that the passerby’s can notice anything strange which helps in reducing the risk of anonymity.
The communal areas of the buildings such as staircases, elevators etc should be designed where they can be visually connected to the outside surrounding.
The rooms which are used more frequently like the kitchen and living rooms should be designed with their windows facing the public domain while bedrooms and toilets should be designed facing the private domain.
– This idea explains the proper use of materials and architectural design which reduces the feeling of being stigmatised, which creates a sense of isolation increasing the vulnerability of crime risk.
To avoid building forms and layouts which completely stand out from the rest of the neighbourhood, makes it vulnerable by increasing the footfall of strangers by attracting them.
Keeping the high rise and high density blocks away from the low income houses, as a mix of both can lead to criminal activities Encouraging the use of robust and attractive finishes to the building surfaces, preventing them from being vandalised.
– The juxtapostioning of residential areas with other facilities which helps in improving security and provides means for natural surveillance.
Housing facilities should be mixed with social and commercial facilities to improve natural surveillance through increased footfall.
Parks, playgrounds and open spaces should be designed around residential areas thereby offering constant natural surveillance.
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