Your guide to delivering a safer city

The Auckland Design Manual team are proud to launch a new design guide that promotes safety and crime prevention in the design of our built environment.

Safety is an often overlooked part of the design process. The emphasis of design in the built environment is often the ‘look’, rather than the ‘feel’ – how safe will people feel when they are using this area?

In fact, it may not be until well after a development is finished that issues surrounding its safety are recognised.

The issue of perceived safety – how safe someone feels in an environment – affects a greater portion of the local population than you may think. A 2012 study carried out by Auckland Council found that 48% of Aucklanders felt that their feelings about crime and safety impacted on their daily lives. Think about it – how you perceive a particular environment may be very different from how someone else perceives it.

However, this is not to say that there is nothing which can be done to improve the issue. Implementing a few simple design features can go a long way in making an environment feel safe for everyone.

A comparison of how safe people feel in certain environments (Source: Public Perceptions of Safety from Crime in the Auckland Region)

A comparison of how safe people feel in certain environments (Source: Public Perceptions of Safety from Crime in the Auckland Region)


Design for Safety Guide

The Design for Safety Guide is a free resource to support architects, designers and planners in creating a safer built environment.

This includes not only our public spaces, but also the places people live, work, and play. Everyone  experiences these places differently, so it is important that they are designed to ensure all people feel safe when using them, regardless of age or ability.

As Vernon Tava, Local Board Member for Waitematā and advocate of safety through design, states: “Urban design can make all the difference to whether an area is safe and welcoming or dangerous.”

The guide sits within the Auckland Design Manual’s Design for Safety Hub and draws upon both national and international best practice standards, include MfE’s National guidelines for crime prevention through environmental design in New Zealand.

The perceived safety of an environment can differ from person to person.

The perceived safety of an environment can differ from person to person.


Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

The guide encourages the use of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, or CPTED, principles to improve the real and perceived safety of people in the built environment.

CPTED is based around four main principles:

Surveillance – Maximising the number of ‘eyes on the street’ to increase positive social interactions and reduce the likelihood of criminal activity.

Access management – Clearly differentiating access to public and private spaces.

Territorial reinforcement – Enforcing a sense of ownership over spaces in which people feel a vested interest and are more likely to report intruders or damage to the property.

Quality environments – Delivering high quality, well maintained places to attract people and reinforce natural surveillance.

The guidance can be used across all scales of development.

CPTED principles can be applied across all scales of development.


The guidance can be applied at all scales of development – from small suburban subdivisions, larger business or industrial areas, and public realm and transport station upgrades.

By integrating CPTED principles within all development, we can make our built environment safe for all Aucklanders.


Have we got it right? We would love your feedback on the Design for Safety Guide.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please get in touch. A feedback form will available on the hub until July 2017, or you can send your feedback through to:

Check out the Design for Safety Guide on the ADM’s Design for Safety hub. The hub also includes a range of resources which can be used in conjunction with the guide to create safer homes, streets, neighbourhoods, town centres and parks.

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One Response to “Your guide to delivering a safer city”

  1. Julie&Blair Says:

    Wondering businesses who have wall adjoining a public access way could have CCTV camera operational with sensor lighting which triggers the camera to start working( have seen these night motion cameras in the wildlife setting to identify poaches and pests.
    Regards Julie


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