By: Hanan Rawashdah
Architecture, the linking space that connects us to our surrounding, affecting us consciously and subconsciously through our senses, creating feelings of comfort, sometimes, displeasure, nervous, a feeling of being watched, intimacy and many more. But can that effect go beyond just internal feelings? Can it grow stronger to reach a point in guiding behaviour? Perhaps even stopping and preventing certain unwanted behaviors? Can architecture play a role in stopping crime? Violent actions and other actions looked poorly upon in a society?
When one sees a hidden from view door at the end of a narrow corridor, to stop and question whether it is allowable for the use of anyone is instinctively felt. One doesn’t sense the same hesitation when walking through wide, welcoming, glazed doors. In this scenario case architecture was used to send subliminal signals on how to use certain spaces. A sign of welcome by the use of, glazed forms and width in space, A sign of a private zone by the use of a narrow corridor and hidden from view destination.
With a relevant and relatable concept in mind architects strived to explore the potential of playing and forming space in guiding human behaviors. The term CPTED, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, was presented in the book "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" in 1971 by architect Oscar Newman. The book suggested guidelines on how to make public space more safe and prevent crimes and other ill-city viewed happenings. Nowadays the approach in designing Safe buildings adapts and incorporates the three fundamental concepts of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED): (1) natural surveillance (the ability to see what’s going on), (2) natural access control (the ability to control who gets in or out of a facility) and (3) territoriality/maintenance
The first principle, Natural Surveillance, means by creating spaces where people can spontaneously appear and naturally be. A high level of security is achieved this way as it is more likely that crimes against people and property are less likely to occur if other people are around. Because The presence of other people, for example, provides them with an opportunity to: • prevent a crime • intervene in a crime that has started and limit its extent • help apprehend the criminal • summon help from others, and • report the crime and act as a subsequent witness.
Natural access, meaning it is important to give people safe clear choices about where to be and what to anticipate ahead. Legibility with varying options of allows a sense of freedom, confidence and less stressful experience for the user.
Territorial, the third concept of designing safe spaces, means to give a sense of ownership, draw boundaries of a space. Research suggests that it is significant for people’s sense of control that others not transgress or trespass on “their territory” without invitation. This creates a sense of belonging for the owners of the place and creates a need for taking care of the space more, whether it’s physical condition, cleanliness and even the safety of the space becomes a personal mission.
To expand and let architecture cross as an object of shelter and become a tool used to control users, once again proves how architecture weaves and intertwines our daily lives . Although one must be careful in designing safer spaces to keep the balance of creating human friendly spaces and not creating strict almost military forcing designs.