Assignment 5: Planning For The Future

Investigation Theme 
As described by Ronald V. Clarke (the author of ‘The Theory of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’) “crime results partly from the opportunities presented by the physical environment.  This being the case it should be possible to alter the physical environment so that crime is less likely to occur.”(Clarke)  However, the idea that crime is caused by the physical environment has been a large topic of debate among criminologists.  I find this particular topic to be of great interest and I am keen to investigate whether Clarke’s theory is indeed correct. I plan on focusing primarily on personal security in the Stobswell area of Dundee to discover if Clarke’s theory can be applied.

Initial Research and Investigation Aim
The area is well known to have suffered serious decline from the 1980’s onwards where “deprivation indicators had emerged, accompanied by physical signs of dereliction, lack of property maintenance and a stagnant declining property market.”(Smyth)  In recent years, the general opinion of many of the people in the Stobswell area is that “young people are being neglected, with not enough activities to tempt them away from alcohol.”(Smyth) Crime statistics for the area, particularly for underage drinking, and related violence, have been extremely high in recent years.  By using Clarke’s theory, that crime can be a result of the physical environment, I would like to find out why this happens, particularly in this area? Who is most affected? What can I, as a designer, do to help?

Background Reading
Of course it would be unrealistic to instantly put a stop to the problems associated with the underage binge drinking, but by implicating some kind of increased security measure, to protect those who feel at risk, these small changes would make a big difference .  On beginning my research my attention was drawn to an article in the Dundee Courier, by Katie Smyth, ‘The Baxter Park Events Programme to Benefit Young People in Stobswell’.  In this article Smyth has interviewed a number of residents from the area (long and short-term) to hear their feelings about the surrounding neighbourhood.  The main concern was for personal security in the area.  As a result this project has been put in place by Dundee’s Community Safety Partnership to lay on a host of diversionary activities in an attempt to steer young people away from under-age drinking and its associated antisocial behaviour. The project will coincide with the, ongoing, ‘Stobswell Regeneration Strategy and Development’ programme (outlined in the attached diagram), of which was established with a vision to transform the neighbourhood into a vibrant, high quality area where all residents can “live and work in a safe, well-maintained environment of which they can be proud.”(Smyth) It is planned for there to be a whole new range of properties to suit people of all ages and levels of income. It is also an aim to provide a greater choice of “facilities for all ages for leisure, education, employment and shopping. Stobswell will be a place where individuals are respected and the community has strength and influence.”(Smyth)  If this is achieved it is hoped that the areas reputation will soar and as a result attract more people, businesses and capital.  I aim to use the ideas and theories voiced in the above literature to focus my research. I will work on the principal of helping with these projects and existing frameworks, from my point of view as a designer.

Research Techniques
The brainstorm diagram, shown here, gives a brief overview as to how I would go about researching the area of personal security in Stobswell, where I would include possible solutions to the problem.  This brainstorming tool, I find to be an extremely effective method of documenting all of my information into one manageable page of which I would then use to lead me to my three research methods.

    Questionnaires are a form of extensive research which can cover a wide range of issues in a short space of time.   For this particular area of research it would be an excellent way of gathering a really good range of information from different age groups, locals, business owners, passers by, etc. For example, it would be useful to know exactly how safe local people feel living in the area and do they think increased security measures would be beneficial.   However, with this kind of research it is important to be “aware that respondent answers could be inaccurate due to personal desires to be helpful, or to answer in a way which will please the interviewer.”
         Interviews would be used to balance the extensive data, you can gather from questionnaires, with intensive data.  For my research the interviews would be informally carried out without too much of a structure to allow for points to be expanded on freely and to also make the interviewee more relaxed.  By carrying out the interviews in this way more accurate answers could be obtained as the individual would not feel they were required to answer in a specific way.  In addition, “face to face interviews allow for the reading and interpretation of social cues such as body language and intonation” which would make qualitative data more detailed and therefore make an interview a better research method than a questionnaire.
    Observations are another good way of gathering information.  This method of research would allow me to get direct answers to common questions.  For example; Are particular times of the day worse than others? What is the main age group? Are they a mix of both males and females? Is it the same people in the same spots all the time? Simple sketches, photographs and brief note taking would be enough to gain a considerable amount of data to answer these questions.  Also by noting how I personally feel in those areas would give an indication of what issues I should be aware of when designing questionnaires and carrying out interviews.  However my interpretation of the area could not be used as evidence as they are subjective notes, and not wholly representative.

To conclude, my main area of research is the ways the physical environment contributes to crime, particularly in the Stobswell area of Dundee.  I am keen to find out the demographic affected by the crime in the area, and how I, as a designer, could help?  By using the aforementioned research techniques , particularly the interviews, I aim to obtain a great deal of accurate and informative information around the issue of personal security in the area and its links with the physical environment and crime. After gathering this information I plan to use both qualitative and quantitative data in designing a piece which could help combat an issue or work alongside positive frameworks which are already in place.


Journal Articles:

Jane Sykes. (1979). Designing Against Vandalism. London: Design Council, p.128.

Katie Smyth. (2010). Baxter Park Events Programme to Benefit Young People in Scotland. The Courier.

The Stobswell Partnership. Stobswell Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy. Dundee City Council.


  • (Veal, A. J see Bachman and O’Malley 1981; Chase and Godby 1983; Chase and Harada 1984)
  • (Opdenakker 2006)


C. Ray Jeffery (1971). Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Sage Publications, p.290.

Malcom Gladwell. (2002). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Back Bay Books.


Plans for the Summer (5B)

Well seeing as we will soon be finished with second year and begin an EXTREMELY long summer holiday I really should make some kind of to do list.

Ok so books I fancy reading:

There’s a few that were recommended at the start of the year which I quite facncied. For example there were a few a bit like ‘Snoop’ and also a few bringing up skills learnt in the assignments throughout this year (Like service design, brainstorming, visual thinking, etc):

1. Change By Design by Tim Brown

2. Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

3.Quirkology by Prof. Richard Wiseman

4. A Fine Line: How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business by Hartmut Esslinger

5. Design Thinking by Thomas Lockwood

I really should try to get more adventurous with my blog, so I think a few changes are in order:

1. A new theme, maybe somthing more proffessional to look at?

2. I should really find out how tags works and start using them

3.Organising my subscriptions would help (seeing as they don’t make very much sense to me at the moment haha)

4. The ‘Press This’ thing looks quite interesting so I should work out how that all works

5.I really need to re-organise my catagories, eg have one for course work, one for my own bits and pieces, etc

There are a few people I think it would be good to get in touch with over the holidays:

1. Kate Pickering, my design studies tutor this year. It would be good to find out a bit more about Vanilla Ink. I could probably get in touch over facebook

2. Jewellery Designer Axel Russmeyer. I have been given  him for my current research project and am still keen to get in touch with him. Will try his e-mail

During our, most recent, research project I have found a great love for working with plastics so I think it would be really useful to look up a few other jewellery designers who tend to use these materials and see what kind of techniques they use/favour, etc.

CAD, Round 2

After years of purposely avoiding having anything whatsoever to do with computers, I think I may have found a program I can work!! In our most recent project, we were introduced to Rhinoceros4.0. It is a 3D modelling program with enables the user to extremely quickly create 3D designs which can then be sent off to be cast. The various add-on’s the program comes with (the ability to set stones into a design) are just brilliant!

By the end of the project we were to have designed a simple piece of jewellery in Rhino, of which was to be suitalbe for the casting process. I chose to continue with a pattern I had been trying out a previous project (fishing nets etc), and create a ring design. Once I had, somehow managed to draw out my basic shape, in Rhino, the rest was surprisingly straightforward xD By using a range of the techniques we had been shown, throughout the week, I was able to repeat the shape and come up with the final design. I was very chuffed with myself haha

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Interview’s, but not as we know them

In this assignmnet I chose to stick with my bingo theme. We were asked to select a question to focus on related to this subject and interview a range of people to gather and compare their views on the subject. I decided to look into ‘Why People Go to the Bingo.’ and interview my flatmate’s Gran,a friend’s friend who had been and a friend’s friend who had not been.

Before my interviews I did a quick mind map of the question, to put together and simplify all the information I had gathered in previous assignments as well as what I wanted to find out from others. For example, I took the two main age groups who attend the Bingo, OAP’s and young/middle aged people, and came upwith a few general reasons why those age groups might go.  I also had a look at the environment of the hall (may well influence who goes).

On the above mind map I also included details of Possible Changes which would encourage more people to go. (I particularly wanted to ask this to those who had never been to the bingo before)

I chose a Semi-Structured interview style, where I followed a rough plan but could deviate to follow up comments which particularly interested me.  I asked the three people: 1. Have you been to the Bingo? 2. Why/Why not? (if relevent 3. Thoughts on the experience?) 4. Why do you think people go? 5. Would you go back? and 6. If you could, would you change anything? To be honest I wasn’t really surprised by the results. My friend’s Gran did indeed go to catch up with friends, the person who had been went with the hope of winning a silly sum of money and the person who hadn’t been felt it would be a dated environment and you are much more likely to loose more money than make.

However, although all three had different opinions of the idea of going to play bingo, they did all have changes which would improve the experience and encourage more people to go.  For example, the Gran (who has problems with arthritis) felt that bigger or more easy grip counters for the interval games, would really help.  The two students would feel more comfortable going to play bingo if they had specific student only nights and if things like dabbers and the actual cost of the sessions were cheaper. Maybe have student discounts?

After discussing our interviews, as a group, we decided to come up with a few designs to try to solve some of these issues. We decided on a special buzzer,mainly for older, quieter people, who struggle to be heard by the staff when calling “house”.

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It’s Bingo Time

“Ethnography informs design by revealing a deep
understanding of people and how they make
sense of their world.
Ethnography is a research method based on
observing people in their natural environment
rather than in a formal research setting.”

This quote from ‘The Ethnography Primer’, pretty much sums up what we were asked to do in this new assignment: Observe how people act in a place where they feel at ease and how I feel in a place I would usually feel uncomfortable. So, for my Primary research, it was off to the Bingo I went!

Well, I have to say, as soon as I walked in, it looked exactly how I had imagined. Dated, female dominated, and there were flashing slot machines all around. So I was feeling, as I had predicted, very much out of place and definately out of my comfort zone.

When me and my helpful flatmate (and also first time bingo-goer) got up to the desk, the staff were actually all fairly young and sort of helpful haha. As in they didn’t exactly explain the rules but did seem to understand what session we were trying to go to xD

And then we were in the Bingo hall, and wow. I mean I knew these halls were big, but this was unbelievable.  The room was massive. The tables just kept going! To my surprise, the hall was actually practically empty, appart from the scattered obvious regulars. The lack of people was clearly just a result of the time of day, as by the end of the first session, it was near packed.

Finding a seat was actually easy xD (despite the stories of awful regulars who beat you with their walking sicks if you’re in their area. But I suppose that could just have been because it was empty haha)  Waiting for our game to start, it was fairly clear (just by watching those aroung, particularly the guy next to us chewing on his dabber), what we were to do, and we soon got quite stuck in! As soon as a new game started, there was quite a change in atmosphere, everything just felt more tense.  Not unpleasant though.  The folk around don’t even look at the screens to check the numbers which are being bombarded at them! It was impressive.

And once the games were finished the tension instantly lifted, briefly though, as people then turned to the interval games. These were over quickly but you still had to pay.  Some of the folk, which I’m sure are there all day, must spend a fortune.

So would I go back? To be honest possibly yes.  It really didn’t feel like we were looked down on or stared out at all, like I’d worried we would be. The bingo folk were far to involved in their game.

Now moving on to a place where I definately feel at ease, for our Secondary Research, The Pub. Its a typical old man pub, but I think it’s great haha

I hadn’t even thought about it, but while sitting in the pub it was pretty much entirely male dominated (total opposite from the bingo but would say they are of a similar age), most of them either standing at the bar or watching the TV.  Most were on there own, but seem at ease. This would suggest that they are regulars.

I chose to focus one one of these men (hence the sketches above).  Like many, he was alone, and seemed quite happy in his own company.  I got this impression from the relaxed way he was leaning at the bar.  So why was he out? He was wearing a wedding band so maybe he was out for a quiet night with a pint and the darts to escape the wife for a bit?(she was maybe at the bingo next door xD haha) But inless I actually went up to him and asked, all of my notes would just be assumptions.  I think this assignment has shown me that although you should never take steriotypes as fact, they provide some rough information about a person on first glance.

The Bronze Pouring!!!

For the pouring, we got a visit from The Moblie Foundry. It is a unique travelling sculpture foundry, which delivers hands-on educational workshops around Scotland.
“We are all about de-mistifying the process, learning from each other, travelling, meeting new people, and making creative new artworks.

We use solid fuel furnaces, burning hardwood charcoal, blasted with air from our set of handmade furnace bellows, or an electric air blower, to achieve temperatures upwards of 1200C.”

Here’s a wee look at our pour:

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Give Yourself a Medal!!

In this wee project we were asked to design a medal which we were to do a final cast of in bronze. It was SOOOO much fun!

I decided on a fishy theme (fishing, fish nets, etc).

We were shown a range of shiney new casting techniques.

The Cuttlefish Casting was awsome xD extemely smelly though haha I started scraping a design into one side, joing the two pieces of cuttlefish together, then poured in the melted pewter.






I really loved using this method for casting, however it would be unsuitable for the final medal as there wasn’t anycuttlefish big enough xD. Here’s a wee nosey at how I built up my final design in Milliput and prepared it for the bronze pouring.

New Assignment: Inkblots

The purpose of this assignment was to investigate Roland Barthes’ theory of ‘Polysemy’.  And what does this mean? Well to some up, Barthes suggests that images have multiple meanings, and that when one is understood others are discovered. (“all images are polysemous; they imply, underlying their signifiers, a ‘floating chain’ of signifieds, the reader able to choose some and ignore others.”)

So in this assignment we were asked to create a series of inkblots and ask a variety of people to interpret them.  I asked 6 people, 3 boys and 3 girls, all the same age but each person was studying a different subject (a History student, a Medic, a CLD student, a Fine Art student, an Education student and a Buisiness Studies student).

The results were… a mix haha For example the first image was seen to be a “forest scene” by all of the girls asked, but one of the boys could see “two guys with long heads, standing back to back, holding lights.”

So seeing as there was no image where every single person could see the same image I chose to focus on the third one and made small alterations to see just how much I had to change the image for each person to see the same.  As the History student picked out images of two feet, I decided to go with that one.  To my surprise I only had to make one small line, to slightily indicate a foot shape, for each person to also see the feet shapes.

Can you see the feet too?

Catwalk Project!!

New year and a new project. This one was right up my street!! Colourful, contemporay, catwalk.

Over the Christmas break we were asked to research a particular period in time or an era. I chose to look into the fantasticly elaborate fashion of the Elizabethan era (particularly the exaggerated neck ruffs).

I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to create my own ruff, however, of a more modern design and choice of materials. Paper played a big part in my initial research into contemporary catwalk designers so I did a great deal of experimenting of my own. Really wanted to keep in the rich, regal colours of the era (reds, deep purples, golds,etc) and so I was particularly drawn to sweetie wrappers (what an excuse to buy a silly amount of caramel waffers :P). I then moved onto trying out differnt folds with various ribbons. They made lovely samples but they just didint give the impact I hoped for.

Following a series of new workshops I became very attatched to making my own felt!!

Here’s a wee look at what I got up to…

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