Safe space according to Daniel Vos

After completing both bachelors Architecture and Public Administration, Daniel Vos started with his graduation in Public Administration in the direction of crisis & security management at the University of Leiden. In search for an opportunity to combine these three issues, he came in contact with Field Academy, thanks to a friend’s advice. Here he found out that the city of Rotterdam provides enough reason to study the relationship between security issues and spatial environmental solutions.

Daniel Vos

His graduation research focuses on redesign of squares that have been subject of trouble and insecurity in the past. This brings together Architecture (redesign), security (nuisance and insecurity) and administration (the intervention is a form of policy).

Daniel was able to find much literature on the relationship between the establishment and maintenance of public space and safety. There is ‘the broken windows theory’, which suggests that signs of untreated unorderliness can cause a vicious circle of nuisance and impoverishment. There is also a theory that claims that the presence of many shops along the street contributes to safety. Furthermore, there are many writers who believe that residents should be made responsible for an area, so they will keep monitoring.

 “I have taken such literature to the squares in Rotterdam’, says Daniel.  ‘I have already examined two squares: Gouwplein in Oud-Charlois and Deliplein in Katendrecht”.

First of all Daniel examined what the security situation was before intervention. He then analysed what measures were taken and how the redevelopment was established. Could these interventions be similar to the advices that he found in the theories?

Daniel continues: “Then I started to investigate the effect of the redesign on these squares. I do this on two tracks. First I look at the actual crime and nuisance figures. Secondly I do research on the perception of inconvenience and insecurity among the residents and visitors of these squares”. Through surveys, Daniel tries to figure out about the residents and visitors looked at the interventions. Do they actually feel safer?

‘This research is multidisciplinary. Researchers from engineering, sociology, criminology and environmental psychology have written about it. That makes it very interesting.  After all, daily practice is not mono-disciplinary. Moreover, it is a practical study of concrete cases, thus the knowledge of the city and what is happening in it increases. The nice thing is that the Field Academy offers a great entrance to contacts within the community and the research in the field,” exclaims the graduate student.

Daniel is being supervised by Edwin Bakker.