Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Business Crime Aberdeen

I have made this image to visualise some of the information I received back from the Grampian Police. The graph is an Elevation of Aberdeen from the south. The colours on the Plan view can all be seen from the Elevation. The red peak seen rising to the top of the page is the city centre which has a staggering 3,345 incidents of commercial crime.

Aberdeen Police Division Areas

Aberdeen is split into 6 different areas, each area is then broken down into smaller areas and assigned with a code which is policed on a far more manageable scale. The information I received back from the police contains the number of crimes against businesses in these areas from January 2008 to October 2009.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Bed Shop

The vectors above were part of a mini-brief project which involved visualising the application of some of the research findings. It started by gathering images of different sized businesses and creating simple vectors of them so that the information was not clouded by the image and its surroundings. Once the vectors were made I used colour to distinguish the different security features created by the businesses, the surroundings, and objects around them.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


This is an example of how the business could look if the features were changed slightly.
If the bushes were replaced with a wire frame fence the territoriality of the land is still present and the surveillance of the area is improved because the space is much more visible to the industrial estate. This would improve natural surveillance and should discourage people from trying to enter the premises for fear of being seen. The positioning of some large plant pots at the front of the premises coupled with an easy to maintain grass area where the bushes were act as symbolic barriers, signalling that the space is cared for and worthy of defence.


This image was taken on the same industrial estate. It has been taken from the roundabout, facing my father’s business. The main issue with the image is the obstruction caused by the bushes. These act as a Territoriality feature but also as a symbolic barrier, however they are not cared for enough to validate their presence and their overgrown appearance creates a negative effect. Although they are an excellent territorial feature they act cover which helps people to carry out unnoticed activities.

industrial estate

In this image the territoriality of the image below has been applied to my father’s business and the industrial estate he is located on. The transitions between spaces can be seen clearly and are reinforced by the presence of territorial markers like signs.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Public-Private space

In the image above I have broken down spaces in a security sense by allocating them with territorial titles. It shows the transition from Public to Private spaces and visualises the areas where there should be examples of territorial makers to emphasize the shift from one area to the next.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Symbolic Barriers

Symbolic Barriers are objects placed in the environment to create the perception that a person’s space is cared for and worthy of defence. Common symbolic barriers include picnic tables, swings, flowers, and lawn furniture-any symbol that conveys that the owner of the property is actively involved in using and maintaining the property. Note that when items that are atypical for a community are displayed, it can sometimes symbolize affluence and act as a lure rather than a barrier. Therefore, the appropriateness of various kinds of symbolic barriers must be considered within the context of a particular community/area.


Surveillance is the monitoring of the environment during normal daily activities. Common surveillance features include external lighting; well trafficked areas; and well-maintained courtyards, playgrounds, and walkways that increase pedestrian activity and casual surveillance. These features make it far more difficult for people to engage in unnoticed activities.


Territoriality is the establishment of clearly defined spaces of ownership. Common territorial features include community markers and gates to cultivate a community identity and mark the collective territory of residents; risible boundaries such as walls, hedges, and fences to create private yards; and privatisation of public services so that residents must take greater personal responsibility and ownership (e.g. private trash cans instead of public dumpsters). These territorial elements explicitly assign custodial responsibility of a space to residents, and communicate to outsiders that the space is owned and protected.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Defensible Space

Defensible space is another method of security which if used correctly can be used to deter crime, it is an area such as a neighbourhood, house, park, or office that has features that convey ownership and afford easy and frequent surveillance. These features allow people to establish control over their private or community property, and ultimately deter criminal activity. There are three key features of defensible space: territoriality, surveillance, and symbolic barriers.

Results of Business Survey

Business type?

100% of businesses use security.

50% of these businesses use security as a deterrent.
28% of them use their security as protection for their businesses.
11% of them use their security to stop crime.
11% of them are unsure what the role of security is.

44% of businesses have never had criminal activity on their premises.
56% of businesses have had some type of criminal activity on their premises.

Of the businesses that have had criminal activity on their premises
20% shoplifting
40% vandalism
50% theft
50% forced entry

78% of businesses believed their security had performed it job well.
22% of businesses believed their security had performed poorly.

Of those businesses that have had criminal activities on their premises
60% believed the security performed well
40% believed the security performed poor

94% of businesses are not aware of any other ways of securing their business other than using conventional security products
6% of businesses are aware of other ways of securing their business.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Trial and Error

The first draft questionnaire turned out to be too intrusive and the response was very poor. I believe this was due to the amount of questions I was asking and their relevance to the information I wanted. With this I mind I decided to focus it on the information I wanted.
Whether everyone uses security?
What they think the purpose of their security is?
Whether or not it is performing its job successfully?
If they are aware of other forms of security other than conventional security products?
The response from the revised questionnaire was interesting because it showed a trend in peoples reasoning behind the installation of security products.
People’s main reasons for installing the products were:
“To act as a deterrent”.
I am also reading into a rather interesting concept for 'defensible space' which looks at how a space is used as a tool to protect itself.
This could perhaps be an interesting avenue to explore further.

Questions ? ? ?

While I was talking to the police I was also working on a questionnaire which I would be using to extract information regarding security from businesses that are based in industrial sites across Aberdeen.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Facts and Figures

One of my first steps was to contact the Grampian Police and try to gather some information on commercial crime in and around Aberdeen.
The information I am currently waiting to receive is the amount of Businesses in Aberdeen affected by crime in the last year to date.
The areas where crimes are at their highest in Aberdeen.
The number of forced entry, theft, and vandalism incidents.
The Police response to a security related crime.
Interestingly some of the books I have been reading touch on security topics so should hopefully help to inform the project. Likewise I would like to revert back to the research map and use it again perhaps as a tool to compare different products and ideas in relation to security.

New direction

After struggling a little with a context on which to apply the thinking behind my original project proposal I have decided to focus it solely on one of my early ideas which is security. The inspiration for this has come about after a recent break in and theft at my father’s business. The incident made me wonder why it happened. It also made me ask what part the security systems in place had played in the event other than temporally slowing the ability to gain entry and then informing my father that the incident was taking place.

Using the Map as a tool, I made a small questionnaire which asked for examples of designers which people were interested in and their work. I used the information gained to map out the work on a mock-up of the design research map to visualise the difference in products in relation to the mind-set and approach.
The results can be seen above.

As I stated previously I wanted to look at objects that were designed using different design approaches, looking more so at the design-led half of the design research map because this is where I believe I work as a designer. I have said in my project brief that I like things which work and look good working. Taking into account the Map and my design principles I began reading a number of different books on designers or subjects relating to these areas.

Monday, 19 October 2009

After looking at it from another perspective and seeing why objects are designed the way they are. I may look at the different approaches people take to design and the different outputs resulting from them.
This image shows a design research map which allocates different areas to different design influences.

Beau Lotto: Optical illusions show how we see

This TED video is a good example of how what we see is not always what it seems to be.

After studying the work of multiple designers and looking at some of the work I have previously done I initially wanted to look at the perception of objects and how designer products can gain and retain a designer title.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

After mapping ideas it became apparent that some areas interested me more than others. Personal experience lead to a new focused approach. It lead me to target the areas of; energy, materials, recycling, security, snowboarding and aesthetics because I have previously thought, felt or seen problems relating to or around these areas.

Friday, 2 October 2009

My fourth year of study and my year long self directed project. I am hoping my earlier project will aid me in staying on track and that the different techniques I have used over my previous years study will inform my research and development stages in the project. I am currently researching a number of different areas and mapping them out looking for a subject on which I will base my assignment.
Sandra Dijkstra has designed this smart bowl which integrates the spoon with the bowl bringing the two together creating a fun way to serve some dinner.

Like this sideboard by Belgium designer Damien Gernay, if you look closely you'll notice the white surface is actually the coated part of the product where as the wood grain is left to show through making it look like paint runs.

Friday, 1 May 2009

This image shows the plastic bottle style design which in my opinion is a more suited product. The damaged waste like appearance, combined with the way the product is intended to be used work to its advantage. This is because it is designed to be kicked around, its waste like appearance suggests it is a product which commands very little respect and as a result should not become a priority for vandals or thieves leaving the lamp free to perform it's job.

This is one of the final models for my self-directed project.
I also have a plastic bottle design which is meant to give the impression of having sustained damage from being kicked around or thrown.
I am also hoping to get one made which simulates a can which has also been damaged.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Just found this cool design for a lamp which has similar characteristics as my design for a street lamp.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

This concept is meant to be a trash lamp which is kicked out in front, illuminating dark alleys ahead of the user. The idea came from talking to people about what they felt was the problems associated with walking in the evenings. The main problem was the notion of the unknown; the dark can conceal objects, animals and people. This concept means that the areas ahead of the person is always illuminated unlike a torch which only lights the area in the direction you are pointing it.
There is an element of safety created because of the distance between you and the light source, if something was revealed by the light you can then turn and go back leaving the lamp behind.
This concept is using an alarm or emergency button.
The idea is that it will again be used as an object to reinstate the idea of safety or reassurance.

This concept is derived from the road traffic signed used to inform passing motorists.
The blue signs are distinctive and recognisable as a source for information. These signs would be used to inform passing pedestrians of facts and figures on crime or local crime, reinstating their sense of security.
The sign above reads;
"The perceived level of crime is higher than the actual level of crime"

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

This concept would create shapes and colours representative to movement with the assumption that fast movement is red and sharp and slow movement is blue and smooth similar to the shadow monsters. The paths people take down the alley would be played on repeat allowing individuals to see the movement of others.
The main problem is the technology required for this design, meaning a simpler solution is needed.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

An echo is the repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from an obstructing surface.
The image above shows the bloom application for an iPod, the application will play the notes which have been stuck repeatedly whilst fading them away like an echo.
This is the concept which I wish to apply to my final solution; an echo of a past event which plays out repeatedly for a period of time, allowing people to see whether others have travelled down that route recently.

Work by Phillip worthington;
This is a great way of making an environment more intriguing, the element of fun added by a service could possibly cause people to take a different rouite.

Designer Julian Opie does short animations of movement.
The image above is a still from a video named Keira walking.
Perhaps it would be possible to create simple animations which depicted people walking down alleyways or streets creating a human like presence.

Lenticular printing is used to create an illusion of depth and of movement. These types of images are commonly seen in children’s books and as cereal toys.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Images like this are simple and need no technological input, the image appears to be moving when it is actually remaining still.
Edward Muybridge classic motion pictures demonstrate the thinking behind what I hope to achieve in a public space.
Quirky product designed to comfort people. It’s a pillow that acts like a partner or friend and cuddles you as you sleep. This seems like an extended version of a teddy or soft toy which children would use in the same way.

Light has been used for years as a form of protection, some children use night lights to remove the darkness from rooms, making them feel more secure.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A really nice piece of work by Emery Studio where the installed signs in a car park are revealed only when the driver is in the correct position to read them and make the required turn.
Simon Heijdens interactive installation, which when triggered would cause leaves to fall from the tree.
Some long distance non destructive graffiti by the Graffiti Research Lab.
Banksy shows how an everyday scene can become something far more interactive and inviting.
After attending the Design Connexity Conference last week, my project has taken a curious turn.
I was listening to a paper by Andrew B Wootton, Melissa Marselle and Caroline L. Davey entitled CITY CENTRE CRIME: DESIGN THINKING FOR SAFER CITY CENTRES.
The main thing I took away from the presentation was that the level of perceived crime is actually higher than the level of crime, meaning people believe there is more crime taking place than there actually is.
With this in mind I questioned as to why I was designing a product for crimes that are less than likely to happen.
There finding also proved that the design of public space can actually have an effect on the amount of crime taking place in different areas.
This is what I am now looking at, how design can help change a public space and hopefully make it more accessible.