UCL Urban Laboratory


Urban Pamphleteer #3: Design and Trust Call for Contributions

23 January 2014

In spring 2013 we launched an exciting new series of publications, the Urban Pamphleteer

Each illustrated pamphlet in this series collates and presents expert voices across disciplines, professions, and community groups around one pressing contemporary urban challenge. The intention is to draw out and confront the complexities of each subject from diverse perspectives, in a direct and accessible-but not reductive or didactic-tone. In the tradition of radical pamphleteering, the broader aim is to empower citizens and inform professionals, organisations, institutions and policy-makers, with a view to actively influencing urban debate and positively shaping change. The pamphlets are being economically produced, carefully designed and widely circulated, both as hard copy and digitally. The first issues have been published.

We are now soliciting contributions of 400-800 words and/or images/visual essays for Urban Pamphleteer #3: Design and Trust.

This issue aims to stimulate a critical discussion about the role of design in ensuring safety-often indistinguishable from perceptions of safety-and facilitating trust, in urban environments. Contributions are invited that consider the history and contexts in which defensible space, crime prevention through environmental design and other 'design against crime' strategies emerged in different places; and which examine the ways these strategies became embedded in a range of legal, policy, regulatory, community and practice frameworks. The aim of the issue is to understand and critically engage with the assumptions and evidence on which such theories have been based, their intended and unintended effects, their physical imprint on cities, likely future scenarios and alternative approaches. What are the consequences of prioritising defence and security as a first principle in design? What forces-social, professional, commercial, technological-have shaped such strategies? Where have they actually prevented or reduced crime, or promoted feelings of safety, security and responsibility, and where may they have jeopardised trust or sociability or eroded potentials for public life? 

New perspectives on these themes might include, for example, projects that document, contextualise and comment on existing design features and urban practices associated with security and crime prevention, as well as those that enhance public life by fostering trust and an inclusive sense of community in the public realm.  

Submissions to Urban Pamphleteer are peer reviewed and edited by a small team of series and individual issue editors. We are looking to select approximately 15 contributions that directly address one or more of the questions or issues above. 

In making the final selection, we will be looking to feature the widest possible range of perspectives, through high quality writing and images, with ideas presented rigorously and accessibly. Space is limited by our budget-so we encourage concise and incisive texts and even single-image contributions. Please have a look at Urban Pamphleteer #1 and #2 to get an idea of the overall format. 

If you would like to propose a text or image or visual project please send us a 150 word proposal by Monday 10 February 2014 5pm within the body of an e-mail to urbanlaboratory@ucl.ac.uk. Contributors will need to be in a position to submit final copy by 10 March. You must own the copyright for any text or material submitted (which you will retain).

Ben Campkin and Rebecca Ross

Editors, Urban Pamphleteer

Urban Pamphleteer is supported by the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities and the UCL Urban Laboratory.