Oscar Newmans Defensible Space

Book Report/Review
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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.


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 Based on the principal that pride of place and community cohesion has been replaced by social exclusion, fear of involvement and lack of trust amongst citizens within some local communities, Newman's concept of Defensible Space sought to allocate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 ...
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