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Architectural Design VI

Research paper

Student: Yuliya Dzyuban

Lecturer: Dr. Lapithis Petros
Mr. Kleanthous Adonis

19 October 2010

With the buildings growth their value as a part of the environment has grown as well. Nowadays architecture
creates the major part of our surroundings. So the significance of creating quality buildings became evident. Poor
quality environment and ignorance to its value can cause many social problems and even mental diseases. Thus
studying the human body features, principles of perception architectural objects is of very importance. Taking all
this facts to consideration and professional approach to design is the key to creating health and safe environment.
This paper will examine how the level of crime can be controlled with the help of architecture. First of all the
definition of crime will be given. Then the essay will study the causes of crime in terms of psychology and challenge
if crime is a mental disorder. After the levels of crime description will be shown and the level for exploration will be
chosen. Also the role of migration in crime level will be defined and the Cyprus migration and statistical analysis
will be held. The final part will demonstrate the solutions of crime decreasing through architecture and peculiarities
of human perception of the environment.

It's known that 85 per cent of all information we receive is through our eyes. What do we
see? Does it influence our behavior and health? We live in an environment that is mostly formed
by architecture. From the ancient times a man tended to have his own dwelling, a place where he
will feel safe and warm. Together with the population growth and evolution, the amount of
buildings and their ponderosity had increased greatly and became a dominative part of our
surroundings. Hence, the problem of the influence of architecture arouses sharply. This project
will examine the problems that can be caused by non-quality surroundings and will show how to
improve the existing buildings in order to create healthy architectural environment. Deep
investigation of human body and psychology, perception of a building not like a separate
element but like an integral part of environment, creating humanize buildings is the solution to
this problem. The purpose of this paper is to examine in which way the crime level can be
controlled with the influence of architecture. At the beginning, the definition of crime will be
given. Then it will examine the causes of crime in terms of psychology and will challenge the
crime to be a mental disorder. The levels of crime will be briefly described and a level for
exploration will be chosen. Then the role of migration in crime level will be defined, and a
statistical analysis will be held for the country of Cyprus according to crime level and

immigrants. The final part will demonstrate some solutions that can decrease crime with the help
of architecture and peculiarities of human perception about the environment.
There are different approaches of defining crime. In terms of the legal action of others:
A criminal is one who acts in such a way that organized society, in the form
of the community of which he is a part, is compelled to declare that the act
and the actual or potential consequences of that act are a menace or injury to
it, and is forced to take steps to suppress further activities of his along
similar lines.
(E. H. Sutherland, D. R. Cressey, 1966)
According to Fishbein brain function is an outcome of interaction of genes with
environment. Genes are the basic platform for possible behavioral characteristics when
the environment determines how it will actually be expressed in life and changed with
life.(Fig.1) Elements of biochemistry influence on human behavior manipulating
through the central and peripheral nervous systems:

Neurotransmitters control emotion, mood, hunger, thirst, sleep and other

psychological processes;

High levels of such neurotransmitters as dopamine and serotonin lead to the

bellicose behavior.

Hormones control sex drive, reproductive functions, aggression,

territoriality, sexual differentiation, responses to environmental stimuli,
and energy levels.

People with increased level of testosterone seem to be extremely aggressive.

High rate of cortisol enhance disrupted behavior and depression.

Fig. 1. Summary of hypothesis on testosterone effects.(Based on McManus & Bryden, 1991)

It has been proved that our genes and biological conditions are not stable and unchangeable.
Our biological and psychological state in the form of biochemical processes are sensible to the
surroundings and can be changed to a certain point. It was examined that stress, influences
neurobiological processes and behavioral inputs during the individuals development. (Fig. 2)

The environment can lead to changes in temper by influencing:

Neurotransmitter responses.
CNS and behavioral activity levels.
Blood flow and glucose metabolic rates in brain.
Development of connections between brain cells over time.
Aspects of brain function that control both the immune system and psychological

Density of autoreceptors in the brain that affect regulatory capabilities.

Hormonal responses.
Psychological responses and tone.
(Fishbein, 2004)

Fig. 2

Deprivation, like social, economic and physical, as well as poverty, traumatic stress, family
dysfunction, prenatal drug exposures, and other negative childhood experiences or environmental
conditions can have a profound impact on brain function. On the other hand, brain dysfunction
has an impact on environmental or social responses to the individual, which may result to an
adverse behavioral outcome.
Has to be mention at this point, that these indicators of brain function are known to be
sensitive to improvements in our social environment in a way that they might decrease the risk
for drug abuse and antisocial behavior.
Can we argue the crime itself to be a mental disorder? There are many theories concerning
this argument. Different approaches to a crime study found land for both notions. The main
argument that contradicts the description of crime as a disorder in the society is that in such case
criminals can't be found entirely responsible for their actions and judged with the strongest
punishment (Raine,1993). Obviously, to consider crime as a disorder depends on the category of
the crime and each case should be examined individually.
To organize the criminological theory in order to identify common approaches for solving it,
a five hierarchical level structure has been made, that moves from large society scale to an
individual private level. As a result of analysis, the second level of the hierarchical scale was
chosen for further examination, focusing mostly on spatial and social distributions of

Fig. 3

It was proven before that mental health, depression, stress lead to aggressive behavior and
provoke crime commitment. The analyses below examine how urban environment and poor
quality neighborhood influences on psychological health.
A research shows that people living in areas with poor built quality environment can
develop depression and deprivation.(Christodoulou et al, 2009)
German study stated that high levels of urbanization were connected to higher 1 year
prevalence for the majority of mental diseases. (Christodoulou et al, 2009)

In the Netherlands, five levels of increasing urbanization were significantly associated with
increasing prevalence of psychiatric disorders.(Christodoulou et al, 2009)
Klitzman et al (2006) states that the determinative features of the urban physical to the
urban social environment are density, diversity and complexity. Physical and social
circumstances are integrated with each other and influence on health and welfare. The author
splits them in "underlying community level factors" (population, density), "physical
infrastructure systems (transportation, solid waste) housing", and "proximate levels of
environmental mediators" (water and air quality, dust, soil, noise, local climate, pestilence and
disasters). The physical qualifications of the regional units such as neighborhood give the
opportunity to interact and observe the group's behavior. Hence the neighborhood that looks
deteriorated is associated with higher level of crime and unconsciously attract criminals like a
place to commit crime without punishment.
These theories set a stage for environmental criminology, that consideres surroundings
where people live and work as manipulators for crime rise. Other similar concept is called
"differential opportunity theory" which concentrates on the structure of the physical and social
surroundings and how they influence on the levels and types of crime at the local area.
(McGuine, 2004)
Very often crime level is associated with immigrants that are entering the country. A further
research will be conducted to find out the relation among them. First of all it's essential to
discover how does immigration influence on the immigrant's mental health.
Due to the studies held in the United States, Mexico and Australia that have examined the
psychological state of immigrant populations compared with non-immigrants it was found that
the immigrants had a lower lifespan risk of getting a mental disorder in comparison with native

citizens. The authors refer this statement to "the healthy migrant effect" as mentally stable
migrants can be easily referred as immigrants and are more likely to immigrate.
The number of studies held in UK and Israel had shown different results from other
countries. The British Ethnic Minority Psychiatric Illness Rates found out that Indian and
Pakistani women had increased levels of mental illnesses rather than white English born women.
The Israeli World Mental Health Survey examined that immigrants from the former Soviet
Union countries higher rates for common psychological illnesses from Israeli born ones. It was
assumed that this result is associated with "acculturative stress" that leads to the mental stress.
Additionally Israel has an open immigration policy

opposite to other countries that have

selective that could influence on the different results. (Christodoulou et al, 2009)
Studies that were examining the connection between urban structure and its changing from
one side, and cases of social frustration from other, held in Chicago, had shown that crime was
higher in slum neighborhoods, where newcoming migrants settled. After becoming more
prosperous and stable, they moved to more auspicious districts of the city where their crime level
decreased rateably (McGuine, 2004). Consequently, it's not the immigrants that cause exposures
of crime but the conditions of place where they were obliged to stay are conductive to crime
The connection between crime and ethnic nationality is a matter of social prejudice and
stereotypes. Several researches about the foreigners impact on crime and violence informed that
high levels of immigrants have no effect on crime rates. (Martinez, Valenzuela, 2006)
Essentially after entering the European Union Cyprus migration policy had changed.
According to the Centre for European Reform citizens of the EU member countries have the

right to enter and live in other member countries without any barriers. Nonmembers should apply
for visa or residence permit if they wish to enter EU (Fig.4). (Brady, 2008)
It's noticed that third countries migrants are the most assailable groups towards racism and
stereotyping, they are usually connected with crime,unemployment and low salary, break-up of
marriages by the society. Immigrants work under the worse conditions and lower salary then
Cypriots. (Georgiou et al, 2006)
According to the statistical data, percentage of foreigners involved in crime is increasing
during the last years (Fig.5). Based on the previous research it can be assumed that such a high
rate depends on the poor conditions the immigrants are put in.

Compositions of the population out of total 885,600 inhabitants by 2008


Greek Cypriot community 668

700 or 75,5%


Turkish Cypriot community 88

700 or 10,0%
Foreign residents 128 200 or


Fig. 4. Cyprus Ministry of Finance statistical data.

() ,

Percentage of serious offences committed by non-Cypriots out of total amount


Fig. 5 (Cyprus Police statistical data).

Based on statistics level of crime is much higher in the urban areas then in rural. Offences
against property are the most prevalent types of crime. Residential areas have the most
significant crime exposure (see statistical data at the end). Hence, as research shows, the
enhanced attention should be given to the urban residential areas where the crime levels are the
most significant.
According to Katyal (2002) the government doesn't attach value to architecture as a crime
control. They usually apply the direct methods of influence such as legal sanctions. However the
author shows that architecture can preclude crime just as well as increase it. Government
sanctions can prevent only one-fifth of all crimes. The article further states that architects have
defined the possibilities of crime obviation through design arrangement. The main concepts are
to create natural observation by surrounding persons, to engrain a feeling of territorial imperative
in habitants to make strangers feel uncomfortable entering the private area, to design sodalities of
residents and to defend objects of crime.

Katyal exemplifies the possibilities of crime reducing with the help of building design:
adding the windows that face public areas; making passages free and straight; putting buildings
over against to make neighbors watch each other; designing of lift lobbies close to the entrance.
Author presents two drawings of high school to demonstrate this notion. Figure 6 is the plan
before applying crime averting methods. The areas for informal gathering are closed from vision
and spread on the territory, four doorways make the school easy to enter and to escape. In
comparison the second example (Fig.7) have the formal gathering spaces which are closed by
hedges from backside and stretched along the school building to create good observation. The
entrance that was difficult to watch was closed.

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Further, the author shows how designers can attain the sense of territorial imperative using
interior and exterior qualities of a building like using real (doors, railing) and allusive (steps,
arches) barriers. On the presented pictures (Fig. 8 and 9) the writer demonstrates how the arch
can create a feeling of private closed space.

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

As Katyal states, another way of precluding crime through architecture is to reinforce

potential objects of crime. The exploration demonstrates that residents are more frightened of
burglaries when they see the evidence of confusion around. Such methods as placing bars lower
on entries, putting fire escapes away from reach of strangers, using more strong materials,
graffiti-resistant paint, doors with metal cores help to prevent and conceal the crime existence.
Apparently the decreasing of fear will bring more people outside, hence the outside observation
will grow and reduce the actual crime level.
In 1950 the company of Leinweber, Yamasaki and Hellmuth was designated to design the
Pruitt-Igoe complex. The St.Louis Housing Authority limited the architects in budget and put the
cheapness upper then quality and aesthetics. The beautification of the neighboring territory was
removed. Equipment was so shabby that parts of it were broken after the first use. Nevertheless
after the project's opening it became evident that such approach was wrong. The lifts and
galleries far from resident's flats became the spots of crime. People were assaulted while
reaching their apartments. The level of crime and vandalism increased to such level that there
was no other solution then to demolish it. (Bristol,1991)

In his book " Places of the soul: architecture and environmental design as a healing art"
Christopher Day suggests that only architects believe that architecture influences on a person.
All other people are not interested in the appearance but what is inside the building. Usually
people don't notice our surrounding but it does influence on us unconsciously. The author claims
that if architecture is sick it can make people feel sick as well. In these days buildings can be
designed in one place and built in another without paying attention on climatic and cultural
inequality. They are made from universal materials and can be built anywhere in world but they
don't have connections with environment and traditions of the current place. However, Day
emphasizes that conditions of life and perception of the world differ from one country to another
and buildings and materials suitable to one can't be accepted in another place. This pressing
opinions on inhabitants most probably will make them sick and acidulate. A large number of
different things, shapes, colors and volumes around are poor in there sense and features they
don't forest the soulful part of a person make us feel exhausted and despondent.
Based on information that is given by Wilkins (1995) circumambiency that is full of stripes
which appear as the result of modular construction or a part of design can be noxious for our
health and cause a visual pressure and different kinds of diseases. The author gives an example
of a coffee bar at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. The moans of visitors accessed the national press
because of a crankle monochrome straps on the floor. But very frequently stripes are the outcome
of a structural way, because constructions are usually modularized, hence they consist of equal
elements. Wilkins claims that even in such case it's possible to organize them in a way not to be
irritative for passer-by. He shows an example of L-shaped bricks (Fig.10) that creates a feeling
of more accidental arrangement and doesn't evoke

repugnant impact. Therefore even the

modular elements can be organized in a way that can avoid homogenous repetition and create a
pattern that is more pleasant for eye.

Fig. 10 Italian brick

Indeed the discomfort that is caused by monotonous and incursive optical areas appears
according to an eye structure. The eye movements are divided into slow and fast. Fast
movements are called saccades. This movements happen automatically usually about 2 per
second. When the eye observes a big bare wall it has nothing "to catch" on it so a person feels
disoriented. The saccade amplitude sharply increases trying to pick information. This changes
the normal saccade automaticity and orientation. The negative effect also happens when a person
looks at the bellicose field for example a building with a great number of similar elements. A lot
of impulses start to attack the brain, but they don't carry a lot of information in fact. All this leads
to mental diseases. According to psychiatrist's research around 80 per cent of patients suffer from
a "syndrome of a big city" with dismal mood and mental instability. (Filin, 2010)
In his work "In The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses" Juhani Pallasmaa
identifies the task of Architecture: "Architecture reflects, materializes and eternalizes ideas and
images of ideal life. Buildings and towns enable us to structure understand and remember the
shapeless flow of reality and, ultimately, to recognize and remember who we are." The author

claims that architecture helps us to specificate and understand the actuality of life. It is the source
of culture, memory and experience. Architecture gives us the possibility to view the changes of
environment and to find our own place in it.
With this evidence, it become clear that architecture is a powerful tool of influence on a
person. It has emerged that with the help of architecture it's possible to reduce or increase
delinquency, to nourish people or to make them feel sick. Even if we don't pay attention on
environment it influences unconsciously. Such imperceptible on the face details as texture, color,
neatness and solidity of accomplishment, the way of using the shape and volumes are in fact the
base factors of creating the positive or negative impression. Only deep examination of
architectural forms features and specifics of human perception and cogitate design that takes all
this facts into consideration will help to create healthy environment in future.

Statistical data retrieved from:

1. Cyprus Ministry of Finance statistical service:
2. Cyprus Police statistical service:

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2. Brady, H. (2008). EU migration policy: An A-Z. London: The Centre for European Reform.
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7. Georgiou, D., Papadopoulou, A., Polykarpou, D. (2006). ENAR shadow report. Racism in
Cyprus. Brussels: European Network against Racism
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Architecture as crime control. The Yale Law Journal,


Retrieved October 10, 2010 from website:


Letherby, G., Jewkes, Y. ed. (2002). Criminology: A Reader. GB: The Gromwell Press Ltd.

10. Martinez, R., Valenzuela, A. ed. (2006). Immigration and Crime: Race, Ethnicity, and Violence.
NY: New York University Press.
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13. Raine, A. (1993). The psychopathology of crime. Criminal behavior as a clinical disorder.
California: Academic Press
14. Wilkins, A.J. (1995). Visual stress. New York: Oxford University Press.