Given the ongoing climate of fear surrounding gun violence in K-12 schools, safety and security for school facilities have come to the forefront as a top priority for architects and designers. Unfortunately, very little scientific research exists to recommend design approaches that measurably impact school violence rates. This article seeks to provide a brief overview of approaches to design for safety and security, highlights Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) as the current forerunner among available strategies, outlines current research on CPTED, and indicates research gaps needing exploration. The authors summarize the limited number of current studies on CPTED in educational environments, highlighting the seminal findings of a recent survey that investigated the relationship between CPTED school designs and perceived safety among 900 students in three middle schools and four high schools in the American Southwest. Current research suggests that CPTED may provide students in school environments both objective safety, as well as a perceived sense of safety. Discussion also elucidates the need for consideration of students’ perceptions of school designs, as they relate to their sense of safety and overall psychological wellbeing. The paucity of empirical studies on this topic suggests that much more research is needed.
This article originally appeared in Vol 12.01 of the Perkins&Will Research Journal. CLICK HERE to see the whole article.