5 December 2012 —The first Design and Crime Conference, to showcase ways to design for crime prevention will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney on 12 and 13 December.

UTS Designing Out Crime Research Centre’s Professor Douglas Tomkin said developing design solutions to complex crime problems required a collaborative process that was flexible and dynamic, and focused on the desired outcomes rather than the problems that spoil the environments.

“Workshops at the conference will focus on real crime problems faced by our partners in Kings Cross, Barangaroo and Circular Quay. Each precinct has its own unique character and issues, and design methodologies will draw out a greater understanding of these iconic places,” he said.

The two-day conference will take in the fields of architecture, planning, urban design, housing, community services, criminology, social geography, environmental psychology, product design, urban tourism, visual communications, security, politics, development, and management of public buildings, retail outlets and transport.

Among those presenting at the conference will be Heather MacDonald, from the School of the Built Environment, DAB, UTS, whose presentation is titled “Beyond Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design: social equity as a basis for safety and liveability”.

Dr MacDonald will argue that urban design considerations need to be broadened beyond the physical to develop liveable, safe, and socially sustainable environments.

She says there is persuasive international evidence that the spatial marginalisation of disadvantaged residents in warehouse estates disconnected from the metropolitan economy undermines social sustainability, and constrains the life prospects of children who grow up in suburban ghettos.

“While CPTED principles may reduce the likelihood of victimisation in specific places, a parallel concern with economic and social integration is needed to reduce overall rates of victimisation across our cities,” she said.

“I review the evidence for ‘neighbourhood effects’ on life chances, and critically assess the extent of social segregation across the Sydney metropolitan area.”

Another presenter, Dr Garry Glazebrook, an associate professor at UTS, will present on “Public transport’s role in safe cities for people”.

Dr Glazebrook says that after 50 years “of absolute and relative decline”, public transport is making a comeback, while car use is peaking in many cities.

“Patronage on trains, buses and light rail is rising faster than population, people are returning to inner city areas, and as a consequence, more people are also walking and cycling,” he said.

“These are welcome trends from a sustainability perspective. But perceptions of personal safety both on public transport and in stations, interchanges, car parks and other public spaces associated with public transport remain an issue and a disincentive for many people.”

Dr Glazebrook’s paper will review some of the efforts being made to address this through improved design, and also links such efforts with wider strategies to enhance the urban realm and to improve public transport.

“It suggests that one way to address these challenges is to focus on ways where transport agencies can work more closely with the private sector, local governments, other agencies and the community to help create a genuine sense of ownership and pride in the shared spaces in our urban environments,” Dr Glazebrook said.

Conference details https://www.designandcrime.com