Deconstructing CPTED… and Reconstructing it for Practice, Knowledge Management and Research

  • Paul EkblomEmail author


This paper describes the latest stage of an ongoing attempt to update and upgrade CPTED’s concepts and actions and link them more closely to developments in architecture, design and crime science. The concept of territoriality, for example, is central to the practice domain of CPTED. Yet territoriality is only vaguely defined within that domain, as are the other core concepts such as activity support and target hardening; and all of them confusingly intersect and overlap. The paper attempts a remedy by developing a suite of definitions in depth, relating the core concepts to various frameworks and discourses developed for crime prevention and design against crime, and more generally exploring ways in which CPTED could become richer and more subtle. It will also consider the ‘dark side’ of the environment, covering offenders’ countermoves to prevention and their own counter-exploitation of space, buildings and what they contain. The ultimate intention is to produce a more rigorous, yet deeper and better-integrated conception of CPTED useful for practice, research and theory alike. The paper should be considered as work in progress, indicating what might be possible and stimulating debate rather than offering a definitive resolution of the issue. Further steps are suggested and constructive contributions from readers are invited.


Access control Activity support CPTED Crime prevention Defensible space Image and maintenance Surveillance Target-hardening Territoriality 



A version of this paper was first presented at the Crimprev workshop on Urban Criminology, Keele University, April 2009; I am grateful for EU 6th framework funding and invitation to attend by the organisers, Tim Hope and Guenter Stummvoll.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Design Against Crime Research Centre, Central Saint Martins College of Art and DesignUniversity of the Arts LondonLondonUK

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