Kirsty aims to tackle crime with better design

A MONTROSE design student has considered how city centres could be better designed to tackle the problem of alcohol-related crime as her final year project.

Kirsty Braes, who studied interior environmental design, has worked with Tayside Police and other agencies to explore the ways design could be used to approach the problem. The results of her work, including plans for an integrated service hub to prevent large groups of revellers roaming the streets after closing time, are on display at this year’s Degree Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.

More than half of all arrests in the UK are made between 11pm and 2am on Friday and Saturday nights and, in conducting her research, Kirsty found that the layout of city centres, including the location of services which are used after pubs and clubs shut, such as taxi ranks, cash machines and takeaway venues, can be seen to contribute to this.

The 21-year-old said that distances between such services create aimless wandering and groups of people in the streets, which can lead to violent behaviour. Her hub idea would see a taxi rank, cash machines, hot food outlets and other services centralised in one location where a combination of creative design and surveillance could help to keep revellers safe.

She said: “When it came to writing my dissertation, I wanted to do something related to crime. This is something I’m interested in, and I wanted to explore how people’s behaviour is influenced by design. I looked at city centres, and the way in which services are located within nightclub districts has an effect on crime rates.”

Help points would provide assistance for those who require it, while CCTV footage from inside nearby clubs would challenge people to think about their alcohol consumption and behaviour when under the influence. The centre would feature blue lights, wood panelling and other design features proven to elevate mood while calming music would be pumped into the hub.

Kirsty added: “Overall, my aim is to create a safe place which would be under surveillance, close to the nightclubs which will integrate food, a taxi rank, and other services which will give people a place to go, whilst encouraging them to think about their behaviour.”