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Defensible Space; Crime Prevention Through Urban Design. Paperback – Oct 1973


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Macmillan Pub Co (Oct 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0020007507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0020007500
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,170,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By alfredo llorente on 21 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
you can take a lot of ideas in this revolutionary concept book
oscar newman wrote a great and modern ideas
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By Ana on 5 Nov 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what a sweet surprise!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Sociology of Architecture at its Finest 10 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I used this book as my "bible" when writing my undergrduate honors thesis. The theories Newman sets forth in this book are genius and timeless. IF you're interested in public housing and the effects of the architecture on its inhabitants PLEASE do yourself a favor and get a copy of this wonderful book. Every architect and planner should read this book regardless of what they design as these guidelines will improve any building built or any city planned.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
a flawed classic 10 Aug 2008
By Michael Lewyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this urban planning classic, Newman addresses the question of why some public housing projects are insanely dangerous, and others only moderately so. Generally, he emphasizes the importance of surveillance- that is, that crime is lower where residents can see what is going on around the building. He also believes that such projects should not be too large [with over 1000 residents] or too dense [over 50 units per acre].

Some of his other key points:

*Streets near housing projects should not be closed off, and their lobbies should face public streets, because "streets provide security in the form of prominent paths for concentrated pedestrian and vehicular movements; windows and doorways, when facing streets, extend the zone of residents' territorial commitments and allow for the continual casual surveillance by police in passing cars." (P. 25) At a minimum, lobbies should be in a straight line from public streets because "Winding access paths provide many opportunities for muggers to conceal themselves while awaiting the arrival of a victim." (P. 82).

*Housing projects should be designed so that residents can see bordering streets from their windows; where housing projects look inward on themselves, "these bordering streets have been deprived of continual surveillance by residents and have proven unsafe to walk along". (p. 80) Newman prefers rowhouse neighborhoods because police and neighbors can "spot at a glance any peculiar activity" (p. 81).

*People generally feel safer on "heavily trafficked public streets and arteries combining both intense vehicular and pedestrian movement" because "the presence of many people is seen as a possible force in deterring criminals." (P. 109) Some commentators have asserted that Newman is a critic of mixed use, because he states that crime is higher in projects near certain land uses- in particular, high schools and other teenage hangouts. But it appears to me that Newman is making a much narrower argument: that land uses that primarily attract teenagers are particularly problematic, probably because teenagers are particularly likely to commit crimes.

Moreover, this book does not seem to endorse low-density sprawl; he admits that "a correlation between density and crime rate for all New York City projects reveals that there is no evident pattern until one reaches a density of fifty units per acre" - far more dense than most urban neighborhoods outside New York City, let alone suburbs.

I did notice a couple of weaknesses in Newman's analysis. His use of statistics is not always persuasive; among low-rise buildings with over 1000 residents, the median crime rate was 45 crimes per 1000 people, while high-rise buildings had 67 (p. 28). However, the standard deviation among the latter group was 24- a fact which suggests that this difference might not be statistically significant.

And although Newman provides readers with some pictures, I wish he had added even more: sometimes I found it hard to understand him without visual aids.

Also, his own figures show that the crime rate for high-rise buildings with under 1000 residents is almost as low as the crime rate for low-rise buildings. Doesn't this fact suggest that his critique of high-rises is erroneous?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Why there were riots in France's banlieus 1 Dec 2005
By Stephen Ferg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book about the way architecture affects the lives of people who live in it. If you want an explanation for the recent two weeks of riots in France's banlieus, you will find part of the explanation here. This is MUST reading for anyone interested in urban planning, or in modern urban society. I give it the highest possible recommendation.
1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Part of the Jewish takeover of the USA (1972) 4 Mar 2013
By Rerevisionist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a study of 'housing projects' in the USA, roughly in the 25 years post-1945. Kennedy's murder was somewhat past the half-way point of this interval, and L B Johnson the most serious ingress of Jews to date then in the USA. This of course was when US genocide in Vietnam peaked; as for that matter did NASA's fraud. Newman's book should be considered in the light of mass fraud at home and mass killings outside. There is of course no trace of this in the book.

Domestically there was anti-white pressure: immigration had been intentionally made simple by Jews, and correlative pressure was applied in 'busing' etc to damage areas and neighborhoods.Part of the Jewish takeover of the USA 1972 book (1973 in UK). Many black and white photos, with maps and diagrams in the then-current architectural style, with a certain amount of freehand line drawing and what look like felt pens for bigger detail.

This is a study of 'housing projects' in the USA, roughly in the 25 years post-1945. Kennedy's murder was somewhat past the half-way point of this interval, and L B Johnson the most serious ingress of Jews to date then in the USA. This of course was when US genocide in Vietnam peaked; as for that matter did NASA's fraud. Newman's book should be considered in the light of mass fraud at home and mass killings outside. There is of course no trace of this in the book.

Domestically there was anti-white pressure: immigration had been intentionally made simple by Jews, and correlative pressure was applied in 'busing' etc to damage areas and neighborhoods. Look at experiments like the Asch 'conformity experiment', where people tell obvious lies when under some pressure, to see how this was done; watch films like William Shatner in 'The Intruder' similarly.

Newman assumes that large manipulable populations will live (and pay rent) in these structures; his book entirely concerns how muggings etc can be reduced by redesigning smallish details of such buildings. There's no discussion of why people should be expected to be at risk, or why people should be given no voice in their housing, in what is or was their own country. Newman represents the Jewish viewpoint - no discussion on choice, take what you're given, pay rent, be a pawn. The financing is of course not mentioned: who profits from these dull buildings; why not build proper towns and neighborhoods; why not get feedback from people...?
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