Guest article from Joe Malone BSc(Hons) ICIOB'I would state that the key to success lies in adopting a holistic design process. We simplify future building and estate management by broadening our understanding beyond the technical requirements of building refurbishment'.
Group Investment Programme Manager - WM Housing Group
As indicated earlier, we adopted a two-pronged attack to deal with the social and physical factors. In terms of the social issues surrounding high-rise blocks, I am a great fan of Oscar Newman's 'Defensible Space' theory ever since reading his landmark book. Oscar Newman was a New York City planner who developed his theory of social control and crime prevention around high-rise blocks in the early 1970's. Though often confined to history the basic principles still hold as good now as they always did and I wrote the work specification for Thomas king House with those principles very much in mind. In the 1970's America was decades ahead of the UK in terms of high rise developments, and Newman in particular, understood the reasons for high crime levels around high rise blocks and formulated his own design guidelines for creating defensible space. There are five basic principles for creating defensible space and whilst I could not adopt them all, I did adopt the principles that could pragmatically be applied to Thomas King House; they were...
1. 'The territorial definition of space in residential developments to reflect the zone of influence of specific inhabitants.' In real terms, this meant clearly defining the hierarchy of space to define public, semi public and private areas. Externally we have used a combination of fencing, landscaping and colored paving to ensure the external public and semi public areas are clearly defined. There are gates to access the area to the front entrance foyer; these are not locked but the intention is to create a psychological rather than physical barrier. We have also created a private landscaped garden to the front of the block to heighten the sense of resident ownership and pride in where they live because if you can give residents pride in their homes then you create a watchful environment. Creating this sense of territorialism is a key principle.