Creating Defensible Space, 1996
Defensible Space has been misinterpreted, and occasionally even misused, to justify design features that have merely fenced public housing or low-income residents in or out of particular areas. In fact, Defensible Space theory encompasses a wide range of planning and design strategies that focus attention on reassigning the perceived ownership of residential space. Newman argues that when common spaces associated with highrise housingsuch as community rooms and outdoor groundslack clear owners or are open to too many users, residents cannot assert responsibility for their safety and maintenance, and these places are left vulnerable to crime and vandalism. Newman advocates recreating a sense of ownership in these spaces by dividing and "assigning them to individuals and small groups to use and control as their own private areas." Once residents reestablish control of their environment, "the criminal is isolated because his turf is removed," writes Newman.
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