The public safety survey revealed how safe Aucklanders feel across Auckland. People were asked how safe they felt in their own neighbourhoods and in Auckland’s main centres: the CBD, Takapuna, Henderson and Manukau.
What this survey revealed was the important relationship between the role design plays in making an environment safe and people’s perceptions of safety.
It’s essential for a designer to consider the factors that will affect the design and its users. For example, if you are designing a walkway linkage to be used on the way to a public transport hub, consider how people will feel walking through the linkage on a cold, dark winter evening. What design factors can help them feel safer?
The following are areas to consider when improving safety through your design.
Who Are You Designing For?
- Who are the vulnerable users of the environment?
- Anticipate different user groups and activities.
- Consider age, gender and ethnicity of the users during peak and off-peak times.
Location and Context
- Think broadly and consider your project within its wider context.
- What’s in the surrounding neighbourhood? How will your proposed development compliment or enhance the safety of the surrounding neighbourhood?
- What are the peak times that people will use your development? What will happen at off peak times? Who are potential off-peak users of your proposed development?
- Is there a history of safety issues in the area?
- Does your design have any "hotspots" that might be a problem? What can you do to improve the design of these?
- The local community - you can find a lot about the history of a place by simply talking to people living in the neighbourhood, local businesses and community or neighbourhood support groups.
- The local officials - the local board offices might be another place to visit and talk to a local politician.
Thinking Outside of the Box
- Thinking about different scenarios can help to form stronger and clearer design outcomes.
- Imagine different scenarios of how different user groups may use your proposed development.
- “Walk in the shoes of the users,” not just the mainstream users but also a potential offender.
- Consider how you might take advantage of the environment? Will there be any conflicts between the users? How can the design minimise potential conflicts while providing for all of the potential users?