A design that excludes

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Defensive architecture exists in many places – including Luxembourg – and comes in different shapes and forms. Yet not everyone is aware that certain structures are designed in such a way that not all people are welcome.

It is a phenomenon that cannot necessarily be proven with numbers, but can be perceived with the naked eye. Even if the name and background don't mean anything to most people (yet), each of us has certainly already seen some designs of defensive architecture or experienced it. How about the cosy bench that could be found in the park amidst the sun and tall trees? Or the quiet place where suddenly, overnight, loud music can be heard from loudspeakers? These are only two of many examples of defensive or hostile constructions. The term officially describes urban planning measures that aim to prevent vandalism and similar acts and protect property. So, in addition to the examples just mentioned, surveillance cameras, electric rubbish bins, built-up shelters and armrests on benches can also be mentioned as corresponding measures.

Unfamiliar, wrong, disturbing

In addition to methods and types of defensive architecture such as surveillance cameras, which can give people a sense of security and have positive advantages, certain groups of people are particularly restricted. Another example: Imagine you are sitting on a park bench. You hear loud – in this case so-called atonal – music. For a better understanding: Atonal music is described in harmony and melody theory as music that does not focus on a fundamental tone.

Quite simply, this means that this music sounds rather unusual or even wrong to the general public and is therefore possibly perceived as disturbing. Now, with this knowledge, imagine yourself sitting on that park bench once again. After only a few minutes, you would probably lose the desire to stay in this place. This is exactly what defensive architecture aims at. The focus is especially on young people, skaters or BMX riders, drug addicts or people living on the street.

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