Monday, 11 April 2011

Assignment 5 - Planning for the future

Research Proposal

After reading the book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell back in late 2010, I chose to look more into the chapter The Power of Context (1). This was all about a man called Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York crime rates. In my research proposal I plan to explore further into how residents feel living in an area of criminal activities and how street design can reduce crime rates.

I chose to focus more on "The Broken Windows Theory" and how it links the psychological reasons behind the people who commit the crime. The theory states that by keeping an area monitored and clean, it may reduce further vandalism and the escalation of more serious crimes. So by creating a clean-up scheme and making area's a more pleasant place to live, can instantly reduce crime rates.

“Crime, Shame and Reintegration” by John Braithwaite is book I looked into which offers a perspective of crime and punishment in the US. Braithwaite believes that the current system of dealing with crime and punishment today is not effective, due to people using the shaming technique incorrectly. The book also looks into the psychology behind criminal behaviour and the reasons why people do it or in some cases do not participate.
I also looked at a journal called “Neighbourhood design and fear of crime: A social-ecological examination of the correlates of residents' fear in new suburban housing developments” by Sarah Foster, Billie Giles-Corti and Matthew Knuiman.  The study explores the connection between neighborhood design and residents’ fear of crime in suburban housing areas. Both primary reports and second hand data were collected as part of a project called: the RESIDential Environments (RESIDE) Project. They came to the conclusion that people feel a lot safer in a pedestrian area with a higher density and more accessible space to get to shops etc. The article speaks about fear and how it creates anxiety and can affect someone’s mental health. For example small things such as litter, vandalism and graffiti can all heighten insecurities and prevent residents from wanting to go out into their own neighborhood and socialise.
Linking back to the “The Broken Windows Theory” this article is similar in suggesting that if areas of wider land space are created, the less crime that is going to be produced and the level of resident’s fearfulness is reduced. Same as if an area has the beginning of windows being broken, vandals will see this area as being a place excellent for disrupting even more and the criminal behaviour is continued.
I plan to investigate further into residents living in fear due to criminal behaviour and how this can be reduced through a change in street design by using a range of different methods and service design tools. I aim to find out of these residents are feeling using techniques I have learned throughout the year in design studies.
I would use interviews as my main method of gathering information, as I feel it was the most successful. I would measure the level of residents fear by myself and the ideas they have on reducing crime rates within the neighborhood they live in. This would also allow me to and interact closely with the people involved and make them feel part of the community which they live in.
Mind mapping is a technique I would most definitely use to organise and record the data gained from the interviews, to make it clear if there is a connection between how residents living in the same high crime rate area are feeling.
 Another technique I would use to collect my own opinions of the criminal activity happening is the observation tool. I first used this technique when we went to the Bingo as part of an assignment to see how people act in a certain environment. Although it isn’t the safest of tools (I would go to a neighborhood with a friend), it allows data to be collected first hand on how children and vandals today are acting within quite a rough housing scheme. By observing people and going to the areas myself I could think of ideas myself by changing the street design to reduce crime and mention these to the residents when carrying out the interviews.
 I also find it intriguing to go to an area that has already been cleaned up to see the difference for myself if the “Broken Windows Theory” really does work and that crime does reduce.  By interviewing residents who live in an area that has already been cleaned up, I’m hoping would prove to me that changing street design really can reduce residents fear.
Here are some of the questions I would ask the residents:
·         On a level of 1 to 10 how secure do you feel living in this area?
·         Do you let your children play outside and feel secure knowing so?
·         Have you ever witnessed criminal activities going on in your neighborhood?
·         Do you feel criminal behaviour has decreased or increased over the years living here?
·         How do you think that street design can reduce crime happening?
I used the brainstorming technique myself, using post it notes to come up with my own ideas of how criminal behaviour such as violence, graffiti, theft, littering and drug use, can all be reduced through changing the street design in the areas affected most.
The ideas I came up with were:
·         Better street lighting
·         Lowering hedges and fences
·         Increased CCTV
·         Higher density streets e.g. Wider pavements
·         Re-vamping the houses e.g. resurfacing, new windows and doors
·         More police checks, doing rounds of the area
·         Plants and flowers creating a more pleasant environment (linking back to the “Broken Windows Theory”)
·         Fitting houses with Burglar Alarms
By going ahead with these ideas advertises a nicer environment to live in attracting more residents to live there and hopefully in the end opening up more opportunities for the younger generation, keeping them off the streets and inspired. It makes the youth feel like they are more connected to one another and part of the community they live in. It will include showing them more authority figures and people to look up to, overall creating a more pleasant area to live in.
From using the techniques I discussed, I hope to gain a better insight on how Design really can reduce crime rates in a neighborhood and overall create a more cheerful and homely place to live in.

Assignment 5 - Mind Map

Although not many people enjoy doing mind maps, I find them really helpful for getting started in a project. As it's been a while since doing Semester 2 assignment 4 - Reading and Reviewing, I thought I'd recap Crime in general (through the use of a mind map) before beginning Assignment 5 - Planning for the future.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

5 things. . .

So as part of Assignment 5, we have been asked to plan 5 things to do/change that is linked with design studies, which can be completed over our Summer holidays!

5 changes I will do to my blog:
  • Create a new layout
  • Find more interesting designers Blogs to follow
  • Add my Twitter account to my Blog page
  • Add more photographs of my own work
  • BLOG more!
5 book (linked to design studies) I will look into:
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. This book looks into why spontaneous designs can be the best of ones. Compared to long thought out processed ideas.
  • Design Thinking by Thomas Lockwood. This book looks into design for innovation, service design and meaningful customer experiences. It looks interesting because it is full of case studies giving examples.
  • I miss my pencil by Martine Bone and Kara Johnson.This unusual book looks into the journey of a designer. It's not about the final product, the process or the design legacy but the communication in modern day's like today... In order to achieve success.
  • Outliners: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. "Outliners" is again about the process and factors of becoming successful in what you do and how you cannot do it alone.
  • In the bubble: Designing in a complex world by John Thackara. "In the Bubble" focuses on why people are becoming so obsessed in modern day with technology and just "stuff". Thackara describes a transformation that is taking place.
5 designers I will try to get in contact with:
  • Egle Petrauskaite. Egle graduated at Duncan of Jordanstone with a Textile degree in 2008. She is now based in London where she takes on Projects. Although she specialises mainly in Print, It is her drawing technique that I was drawn to.
  • Joyce Forsyth - Scottish knitwear designer (Based in Edinburgh). Joyce has her own shop on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh which is very handy for me to visit. I love her fantastic choice of bold, exciting colour in her knit pieces.
  • Patricia Brown. Brown specialises in crochet, felt making and knitting but for absolutely everything... ranging from installations, fashion accessories and exhibition pieces. Some of her pieces are sea-like themed which is the theme I chose for my self motivated project, so it would be interesting to see her pieces.
  • Catriona McLaughlin (Wildcat designs).. Another interesting young knitwear designer who specialises in a lot of different areas. Her pieces are dainty and work intriguing.
  • Kate Samphier. Kate Samphier is a contemporary textile designer specialising in the design and creation of knitted accessories for women, babies and the home. Her scarfs for example are handmade, beautiful and soft.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Assignment 4 - Interviews, but not as we know them.

In assignment three we went to the bingo and watched how people act and interact in a certain environment but in this assignment we are the one's who have to interact with people through the form of an interview. I decided to chose the question: "How have stundents' dress sense changed this they left home?". Mainly because i know that my dress sense has changed and I feel it is a question where younger people can relate to.
After I chose my topic, I created a mind map on dress sense in students and if it has changed. A lot of different factors can affect someones dress sense, ranging from: budget, the course they study, upbringing etc.

We are not looking for statistics but descriptions and explanations from the people being interviewed. The questions i decided to work from are: 1) Has your dress sense changed? How? 2) What influences your dress sense? 3) Does money affect your style? 4) What course do you study?
The people I interviewed are all students at Dundee University and all do different courses. The majority of people i asked are a friends flatmate who I do not know well.
There are three main types of interview's: 1. Structured - following a set list of questions 2. Semi-structured - you follow a plan but can deviate to follow up on interesting comments 3. Unstructured - Informal and basically making it up as you go along. We have been asked to follow along a semi-structured interview.

The first person I asked was a male, 19 and studies politics. He said that his style of clothing hasn't changed at all but budget does come into affect. Having a year out allowed him to work and have more disposable money but now that he has to be more independent and cover costs for food etc, he cannot go clothes shopping often. Nothing really influences his choice of style and he said that if he sees something he likes he just gets it.

The second person was male, 19 and studies business. He said his style of clothes hadn't changed either but he has a lot more "casual" and "comfy" clothing because he has his own flat, he likes to laze about, especially since his course is more theoretical and completed on a laptop. He says that the people around him influence his choice of clothing but again money is tight so barely ever goes clothes shopping.

The third was a female, 19 and studies psychology. This girl said that her style hadn't changed much either but she does go shopping a lot more due to the fact the high street is on her doorstep and she is more independent being away from home. The only thing that has changed is she has more " going out clothes", again being away from home and living an active social life. The things that influence her style is magazine trends and what the other people around her are wearing.

The fourth person i interviewed was 20 and studies animation. In contrast to the other she said her style changed quite a lot in first year at art school. She said that because she is in Uni a lot she like to be comfortable and doesn't really care too much about her image when going about the Campus. As the same as me she used to wear jeans quite a lot casually but now prefers a skirt and tights mainly for comfort reasons. The people the influence her are her friends and noticing what other people are wearing around the art school.

Female, 18 and studies Anatomy. This student is only in first year and says that her style of clothing hasn't changed one bit. She is more style of comfort and likes to make an effort when going out to lectures etc. She doesn't get too dressed up for going out though. Her parents still give her quite a bit of money so she buys the latest trends. Everything around her influences her dress sense, friends, magazines, celebrities.

The sixth person i interviewed was female, 20 and studies Law. Her dress sense hasn't changed either. The only thing that has changed is as she has a more active social life, she a lot more " going out " clothes too. She said that she has her own style and nothing really influences her that much.

And the last person I chose to interview was male, 21 and studies sports science. He said that his style hadn't changed at all and doesn't ever go shopping. Simple because he doesn't like it and money is tight so he would rather spend it on socializing and food. But agrees that the friends around him are the people who most influence him.

The conclusion I came to after completed these interviews with different students is that not many people change dress sense but definitely have more ' going out ' clothes because of the increased social life. My dress sense has changed quite a lot since i left home and moved to University, especially at Art school ( a practical course) , where it really is like a class environment again so your constantly around people. Rather than jeans I also prefer to wear more comfortable clothing like skirts, leggings, tights etc. The dress sense of more theoretical courses barely change at all because they only attend lectures for a couple hours a day.

I have to say I was quite nervous interviewing people I didn't know well but doing so in a flat environment it was more relaxing and made the interviewing technique definitely "semi-structured" and quite informal.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Seminar! 10.03.2011

Every fortnight we meet up with a design studies tutor to discuss the weeks assignment and how we all got on - and if we need any help!. As our last tutor Lesley McGee is moving to Wales, we have two new seminar leaders: Lisa MacLean and Kate Pickering. Lisa McLean graduated with a Masters in Design at Duncan of Jordanstone and is is co-organiser of JUDEmagazine. It was weird having a seminar with Kate Pickering because we received a lecture from her a couple of weeks ago and it was like sitting next to someone famous! They were both really down to earth, up for a chat and helpful! Instead of sitting and chatting we got separated into groups and were asked to design a product for something we noticed in assignment 3 - Design safari. It was a good laugh but at the same time made us realise that we do both textile design and DESIGN STUDIES... we can go onto designing anything we want and don't need to stick within our chosen discipline. As four of my friends and I went to the bingo the week before we decided to design more of an event! Looking around the Bingo hall, we noticed a lot of the older generation sitting alone. They had all their pens lined up ready for the game to begin, which let us know that they were definately locals there! So why sit alone?! We came up with the idea of dating bingo.. A normal game of bingo would be played and player would move around and play contability bingo, marker the person across from them out of 10. At the end, the players who have matched each other win a meal for two!.
We also chatted about our next assignment: Interviews: but not as we know.
This assignment asks us to interact with people in the form of an interview. We carry out the interviews by ourselves but can also work thro brainstorming and interpretation ( look at sevice design tools).
We have to chose a topic which we have looked into, since summer e.g. What do people treasure?, What jewellery means to people?, Do magazines influence you?, Has your dress sense changed since you came to university?, etc.
Although I'm not 100% sure what one I'll be picking yet, I like the look of the dress sense one because I can interact with younger people. I'm not a very confident person at all, so this assignment shall definately be a challenge to me! Hopefully I can find some friends of a friend to help me with my assignment :)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

BINGO photo's!

Service Design Tools - Design Safari

This assignment is all about the observation of people and using this to understand design - mainly because we often spend too much time focusing on an object rather than the way it eddects people's actions.
Firstly we were given the choice to go to the casion, a football match or the bingo. All places which i would find very intimidating (especially at a younger age).
There are many different tools when doing design research. A number of them are listed on this website:
There are two which stood out to me: Mind-mapping and Storyboards.
I find mind-mapping most useful at the beginning of a project where it helps me look at all area's of the chosen subject. The lines and arrow connecting words, show the system of thoughts i go through, around the starting point. Storyboards I use at the end of a project to show the journey i went through, through a sequence of pictures and drawings.
We decided to go to the bingo on a Thursday night as it was free night! We actually had a really good time and never spent a penny (although none of us won).
When we first arrived the old man at the door could clearly tell none of us had been before and took the opportunity to come over and act like he was older and knew better and id'd us all right away. Once we filled out our membership forms and were handed our cards we walked out of the foyer and into the main building. At the next desk we were handed a book of ten free games and a FREE BINGO PEN! As we arrived late for the first game the hall was deadly quiet when we walked it. I was shocked at just how large the hall was. I didn't really know what to expect to be honest. A small helpful, cheery woman met us at the door and went away to find us a large table. She was so chatty and seemed excited that it was our first time to the bingo. The most surreal experience was just walking in! Even though the game had started people still found the time to look up and glare at us. It was like they knew that it was our first time and didn't like the fact we were a lot younger.
When we were seated the woman stayed with us through two games to make sure we knew what we were doign and if we had any queries, which was really helpful. Even just after one game, I could feel myself getting more and more competitive at wanting to win.
It was like a game was split into three parts: the quiet stage when the numbers are being called out, when you get a fright because someone has shouted out 'bingo!', and the stage when every groans because they have been so close to winning. I also noticed the sighing got louder when there was more money involved.
Although no one actually spoke to us. I noticed that the more middle-aged people were those who stared the most and seemed annoyed we were there and new to it. An old man sat two table across from us would hold and and point to the game next being played, enjoying the fact that he was teaching us. It must of been pretty obvious we didn't really know what we were doing.
There was an interval between the two free games tat was filled with smaller games of bingo were it was "only" 50p or £1 to play and they seemed to rattle off the numbers more quickly.
Glancing around and the players it definately looked likes they had ALL been before. There wern't many big groups or couples playing but mainly people in two's or by themselves. To the left was a large older man sitting by himself, behind us were two old men, a couple older woman playing alone, a old man playing alone, and two or three sets of middle aged women. I got the impression that the older generation playing alone were perhaps windowed. All the old women seemed to dress the exact same: wearing bright cardigens, gold earings and rather than drinking tea, were nibbling on crisps and drinking fizzy juice.
The nice woman who helped us came back over at the end of the game and handed us all "five pound off vouchers for our next game, from the manager". I'm not sure if the woman was glad to see young people playing and wanted us to come back or if it was to try and get us back to spend out money... even though we spent none. She did seem really genuine though. When leaving through the front door it was like she had spoke to the manager about us and he was chatting to us whilst leaving, asking if we had won anything and to come back soon! Which was really nice too.
Although i have to admit it was quick scary and i did feel uncomfortable for the majority of the game, we all had such a good time (especially for spending no money) and although none of us won, we would like to go back sometime just for the fun of it.
I also decided to take some notes when waiting for my train home on Friday. Even though i was with someone at the time and have been there many times before, i don't know why but i still find it quite an intimidating place. Everyone who is normally by themselves and sitting waiting on a train coming like to have a stare at new people coming in. I can't really say anything because i do the exact same thing. When we finally got on the train, we were sat next to perhaps a travelling business man, alone, sitting with his ipod in ( the ticket man actually had to tap him on the shoulder for his ticket), two teenage girls who were chatting quite loudly, so everyone could hear what they were saying, an older woman who was sleeping on and off and a family who were constantly keeping the little boy amused by pointing stuff out through the window. I don't really find trains very relaxing. I'm not sure if it's a younger generation thing but I'm always petrified i miss my stop. I also like to have my ticket out and ready instead of rumaging through my bag when the ticket officer asks for it. The week before i got the train back to Dundee alone and i really don't enjoy it! I feel like people are staring at you even more and I'm scared that my music is turned up too loudly so people can hear it.
Although of course you know when you are feeling uncomfortable but you never really think about the people around you and trying to look closer into "I wonder why they are here? Or where are they going? Have they been before?"