It Looks Good, but What is it Like to Live There? Exploring the Impact of Innovative Housing Design on Crime

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on the findings of a collaborative project (funded by the Home Office and managed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment - CABE) which was conducted in late 2009 and early 2010. The project set out to strengthen and update the evidence base on the impact of design on a range of crime types - with a specific focus upon housing developments acclaimed for their innovative design and award winning architecture. This paper presents the findings of an in-depth assessment of the impact of housing design features on crime. Utilising a comprehensive data collection exercise, the specific design features of thousands of homes were collated and assessed against police recorded crime data. The design features were based upon the key elements of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) including road layout, house design, surveillance, territoriality, car parking, communal space, management and maintenance and physical security. The unique and painstaking methodology not only provided an excellent dataset for analysis, but also highlighted the need both for greater conceptual clarity within CPTED and for crime-risk assessments to be based on the careful operationalisation and measurement of CPTED factors. As well as assessing the impact of specific (and combined) design features upon crime, the research also resulted in the production of a new data collection tool designed to address the weaknesses of existing checklists in assessing innovative contemporary developments, which are often unconventional in nature. The paper explores the degree of conflict and/or synergy between the traditional principles of CPTED and contemporary directions in architecture and design. Finally the paper considers the extent to which traditional CPTED principles remain relevant within contemporary residential developments and explores whether areas of revision are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-54
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'It Looks Good, but What is it Like to Live There? Exploring the Impact of Innovative Housing Design on Crime'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this