Surveillant Architectures

Developing paradigms in media culture. This blog is collaboratively edited by the Surveillant Architectures Group.

Defensible Space : a workshop with Michelle Teran : 6th and 7th january 2009

Defensible Space a seminar-plot by Michelle Teran, guest @ SA and re-active platform, january 6th and 7th 2009, room2, glas moog

Defensible Space is a two day seminar that looks at the ‘Architectures of Fear‘, the ways that systems are designed to shape users’ behaviour – with emphasis on the ‘control of behavior’.

In his essay ‘Building Paranoia: The Proliferation of Interdictory Space and the Erosion of Spatial Justice’ (published in Architecture of Fear, Princeton Architectural Press) geographer Stephen Flusty outlines his elaborate taxonomy of defensible space. ‘Stealthy spaces’ are ones that cannot be found, ‘slippery spaces’ are ones that cannot be reached, ‘prickly spaces’ cannot be comfortably occupied and ‘jittery spaces’ are spaces that cannot be utilized unobserved.

During this two day seminar, Flusty’s taxonomies will be introduced. Starting with a theoretical lecture, examples of control architectures, such as shopping malls, business plazas, anti-homeless furniture, anti-protester security systems and gated communities, will introduced to illustrate the emergence of new urban borders.

The Defensible Space lecture will be followed by a screening of ‘LiveSafelyinEurope‘, a 52 minute documentary by Austrian artist Emmanual Danesch about gated communities in Europe.

In the second day we will go out into the city, and try to annotate different urban spaces using Flusty’s categorizations.


Author:  Michelle Teran / Ubermatic / Defensible Space | Date:  March 1, 2009 | Time:  21:57

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