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  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Konsep Defensible Space dimana diadakan

    ruang persendirian, separa persendirian,

    separa awam, dan awam, merupakan idea

    yang mula-mula diketengahkan lebih 30

    tahun dulu yang kini diterima umum.Tatatur

    cantum-adu boleh dilihat sebagai teknik

    merekabentuk perumahan di mana setiap

    rumah berada dalam halaman terkawal

    yang diakses melalui jalan gelung atau

    looping cul-de-sac.

    Rangkaian jalan dalamperumahan cantum-

    adu dikandungi jalan jalan gelung yang

    bengkang bengkok. Corak ini

    memperlahankan kenderaan, justeru

    menjadikannya lebih selamat untuk pejalan


    Honeycomb layout at Sungai Lunchoo Johor Bahru


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference




    The issue of public security in residential

    areas is a hot current topic. In a national

    survey conducted in July 2004 by Merdeka

    Centre and Ikmas (2), 42% of Malaysians

    surveyed said crime was their biggest

    worry.Day in and day out, the pages of our

    newspapers are full of stories about

    burglaries, robberies and snatch thefts that

    make us feel unsafe in our own homes. The

    public areas and playgrounds often seem

    constantly vandalized. The streets areunsafe for our children; not only from

    criminals but from vehicles that speed. We

    coop up our children, ferrying them about

    to school, to the mall and to visit friends.

    We grill up our windows and doors. The

    front entrance door has long been kept

    permanently shut. We put up 6 foot high

    fences to secure our homes. The wealthy

    among us live in exclusive gated

    communities to insulate themselves from

    the dangers outside. Neighbourliness

    suffers but that is a secondary


    However, the main thesis of this paper is

    that a sense of community is of prime

    importance. In good neighbourhoods, with

    strong community spirit, the people dont

    just complain about crime and safety

    issues. They organize night watch groups

    along the principles ofrukun tetangga. They

    look after the amenities that make their

    environment pleasant and add value to their

    homes. Vandalism would not be tolerated.

    The streets are safe for children. Car drivers

    are mindful of pedestrians and share the

    road with them.

    Burglars and robbers are discouraged by

    strong communities that recognize

    strangers in their territory that politely asks

    strangers: Can I help you.

    Safe Streets

    Fotress Home


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    But a housing estate or residential precinct

    contains too many houses, maybe 200

    houses of more, for the ordinary resident to

    relate to. Studies suggest that a small

    housing group of 15 30 household groups

    work better encouraging social networking


    The straight roads in the terrace house

    layout encourage high traffic speeds and

    make them unfriendly for pedestrians and

    unsuitable for children. Pedestrians interact

    with their neighbours much better than

    drivers in their cars. Children make friends

    with their neighbours much faster than their

    parents, and they are unparticular about the

    social, racial religion background of their

    friends. Friendship between children is an

    important component of the sense of

    community in any neighbourhood.

    The roads and public spaces in a terrace

    house neighbourhood become no mans

    land. They are public areas for which no

    individual household or resident feels

    obligated to help maintain or defend

    against vandalism. Everyone to his own

    castle. Residents complain the local

    authorities neglect the maintenance of the

    padang and playgrounds. Authorities

    lament the residents lack of civic

    consciousness. Oscar Norman in /

    Defensible Space 1972 introduced the

    idea of hierarchically organized housing

    with private, semi-private, semi public and

    public areas. The clear structure

    strengthens natural surveillance, helps the

    inhabitants know which people belong,

    and improves the possibility of making

    group decisions concerning shared


    Hierarchically organized housing with private, semi-private, semi-public and public areas, from Oscar NewmanDefensible Space 1972

    Defensible Neighbourhoods


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Closely Supervised

    In contrast, the terrace housing estate can

    be described as having a diffuse spatial

    structure. There is no sense of hierarchy.

    Play is an important arena of learning for

    children. Hence the provision of green

    areas suitable for childrens play is an

    important feature of any housing. Charles

    Mercer in his book (Living in Cities (4) cited

    studies by John and Elizabeth Newson (5)

    to make a particular emphasis on the

    importance of providing the child,

    especially at pre-school age, with the

    opportunity to play further and further away

    from the confines of the house and the

    close supervision of the parent. It is

    suggested that this opportunity is best

    presented in small discreet steps to allow

    the child to explore the world and become

    more independent at his own pace.

    Letting go ..

    .little by littleFrom Lat Then and Now 1993


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Thus, a defect of row housing with unsafe

    streets just outside the gate is that the pre-

    school childs development stops there.

    When he is finally old enough to be allowed

    to go outside on his own, he lacks the

    intermediate steps available to children who

    live in safe neighbourhoods with play areas

    just outside the house. These studies note

    how children who lack the social skills that

    come from play that gradually become less

    and less supervised would be more

    susceptible to peer pressure.

    If badly designed housing is not conducive

    to the creation of good neighbourhoods,

    can good design foster it? Social and

    human factors play the major role in the

    creation of strong communities but can

    housing design too play a role?

    This diagram shows the plan for a medieval

    fortress by military engineers. It was

    designed for an overwhelming functional

    purpose: defense.

    This fortress at Palmanova, Italy was

    actually built and is still standing today. It

    served its purpose well. Its walls were

    never breached: they were demolished

    when they became obsolete. I believe that it

    is possible to design housing that helps to

    foster social life and a sense of community,

    and the existence of a strong community

    spirit reduces the incidence and source of


    Palmanova PlanFrom Spiro Kostof The City Shaped 1991


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    We all want better houses and safe

    neighbourhoods with plentiful and well-

    kept green areas; childrens playgroundswell maintained amenities, wide

    uncongested roads and plentiful green.

    Developers recognize this and the

    brochures advertisements present their

    ideal vision, albeit with the disclaimer insmall print: artist impression only.

    Palmanova TodayFrom Spiro Kostof The City Shaped 1991

    Artist Impression OnlyFrom Gamudu Taman Botanic Advertisement 2003


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    They also know that the promise of security

    can be a major selling point. Therefore, we

    see the proliferation of gated or guarded

    housing schemes.

    However, these schemes are affordable

    only for the rich and will tend to segregate

    society in such a way as to perhaps fuel the

    source of crime.

    We believe that it is possible to design

    affordable houses for all that can better

    meet the social need for a sense of

    community, and by meeting that need,

    make our homes a safer place.

    Cluster House in rows

    The more innovative developers have

    introduced to the market what they call

    cluster house. This is a block which

    contains four units of houses linked on oneside and at the back. Unlike the terrace

    house which has the front garden and

    backyard, here we have the front garden

    and side yard.

    Cluster HouseFrom Bukit Mahkota Development 2002

    4 units in one blockCluster House


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Our honeycomb houses are similar but we

    dont lay them out in rows; we arrange

    them around a courtyard. In the illustration

    we lay out 14 units all facing a central

    garden, like friends sitting together around

    a table.

    Communal space is created in the middle,

    surrounded by the houses. The road

    accesses the individual units internally and

    creates an extremely efficient circulation

    system. Through design we have created a

    spatial boundary, a central area that can

    become the communal focus, and a sense

    of entry into this place. The design is such

    that there is a clear, common perception of

    the neighbourhood.

    The communal garden, easily accessible to

    all, acts as a social focus for a small,

    friendly neighbourhood and is a defensible

    space designed to naturally reduce crime.

    The short winding roads reduce traffic

    speed so that urban areas become safe

    and pleasant for children and pedestrians,

    encouraging outdoor social interaction and

    the development of a community. The

    green area is not a few streets away but

    where it is most wanted - in front of each

    house. The houses face towards each other

    but with a central garden in between. This

    design allows for privacy.

    Cul-de-sac neighbourhood

    Honeycomb housed arranged around acourtyard like friends around a table


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Designing bigger neighbourhoods

    When the community neighbourhood tile is

    repeated in a process called tessellation,

    the roads are linked to create larger

    neighbourhoods without loss of efficiency.

    Opportunities to link dwelling units into

    multi-unit blocks exist along the tile


    The result of joining many neighbourhood

    tiles on a real site is simple and efficient. It

    creates more livable spaces with an

    improved relationship between people to

    people, people to cars, and people to their



  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Cars versus pedestrians

    Planners have long realized the negative

    effect of fast moving traffic to

    neighbourhoods. Radburn in New Jersey,

    built over 70 years ago in the US, is the

    prototype for the separation of pedestrians

    from traffic. Delft in the Netherlands, built in

    the 1960s, is one of the first examples

    where the roads are designed with traffic-

    calming features to slow down vehicles (3).

    Terrace Houses

    In Honeycomb Housing the network of

    roads comprise looping cul-de-sacs and

    short connecting roads leading to

    distributor roads. This road pattern slows

    down traffic naturally rendering it safe for

    pedestrians. The short connecting road

    with no access to houses provides space

    for visitors parking.

    Honeycomb neighbourhood


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Defensible Space Creating Communities

    The concept of Defensible Space with

    hierarchy of private space, semi-private

    space and public space, first proposed 30

    years ago by Oscar Newman (1), is now

    widely accepted. Residents must be

    allowed to exercise influence over the

    environment just outside their homes:

    visitors should know when they are entering

    a semi-private domain. Environmental

    design can assist in providing natural

    surveillance of the external spaces. The

    Honeycomb layout can be seen as a

    technique to design townships where every

    house lies in a cul-de-sac which naturally

    produces defensible spaces. Furthermore it

    completely eliminates back-lanes from

    where 35% of break-ins in Malaysia

    originate, according to UiTM researchers


    The outdoor space between buildings is an

    important arena for social interaction. Social

    contact and spontaneous interaction are

    important building blocks towards creating

    a sense of community. The creation of a

    safe, pleasant and shady area of suitable

    size, just outside the home, is a basic

    feature of Honeycomb housing. The central

    courtyard becomes the social focus of the

    neighbourhood. In this location it is

    accessible to all to enjoy, the very young,

    the old and the disabled. Sociologists find

    that individuals relate better to small groups

    rather than large. In Honeycomb housing

    the neighbourhood contains only 5 to 40

    units defined clearly by the single access

    road and the communal courtyards. It is

    easier to recognize each other, to get

    acquainted, to form informal social groupsand to initiate collective action.

    Honeycomb Courtyard


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference


    Looking further at our example, the size of

    the courtyard is 34m(112 ft) across, which

    Jan Gehl (3) thinks is of a scale suitable for

    human interaction. Within 30m the eye can

    discern facial features of people we meet

    infrequently and within 20 25m most

    people can perceive relatively clearly the

    feeling and moods of others.

    The size of the courtyard then makes it

    suitably recognized as a semi-public area.

    Friends will be greeted, strangers queried.

    This will discourage petty criminals.

    Residents doing their normal routines in the

    front yard have ample opportunities for

    social interaction with their neighbours.

    The green area at the center of the

    courtyard is about 2000 square feet. It islarge enough for a set of childrens

    playground equipment. The priority is to

    provide play facilities for the smaller

    children below ten who lack independent

    mobility. Older children can perhaps go to

    the central padang that caters for the

    housing estate or take advantage of the

    school sports facilities. Old people and the

    disabled in the courtyard neighbourhood

    who also lack mobility can also access the

    public green in front of their homes, and is

    thus not excluded from social life.

    We are now vigorously promoting this

    vision of a new form of housing in which the

    layout of houses, the system of roads and

    the distribution of green spaces are

    radically different from that of the

    conventional terrace. We believe that one

    day honeycomb housing may be accepted

    as one of the patterns of choice for the town

    planning of residential areas.


    1. Oscar Newman Defensible Space 19722. New Straits Times 23rd Sept 20043.

    Jan Gehl Life Between Buildings 1971

    4. Charles Mercer Living in Cities 19755. John and Elizabeth Newson 4 years old

    in the City 1968

    6. Lat Then and Now 19917. Spiro Kostof The City Shaped 19918. M.Y. Abas and Sugianto Break-ins

    Malaysia 2004


  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference






  • 8/14/2019 Senior Planners Conference