One of the early key project tasks was to define the terms of the research. These key words allowed me to be specific about the research focus. These key terms included:
Any publicly owned streets, pathways, rights of way, parks, publicly accessible open spaces and public / civic buildings and facilities. Which can be viewed and inhabited by members of the public 24 hours a day without charge. (1)
The research is therefore concerned with activities, which occur in the public realm as defined above. The project is not focused on activities / harm caused in other situations, for example domestic housing or workplaces.
‘Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person’ (2)
The research is therefore concentrating on acts of anti-social behaviour and not focused on ‘criminal’ activities. Even though sustained and repeated anti-social behaviour can eventually constitute criminal behaviour.
‘A person who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.’ (3)
Specifically in this research the focus in on individuals who become vulnerable due to alcohol dependence or intoxication. The effect of alcohol may render individuals unable to take care of themselves (in the case of binge drinking). Or dependence could leave individuals vulnerable due to difficulty in taking care of themselves in terms of housing / health / family or social connections (or in some instances it could be both).
According to the NHS: Alcohol misuse means drinking excessively – more than the recommended limits of alcohol consumption. (4)
The research is therefore focused on hazardous / excessive drinking, for example binge drinking periodically (considered acute alcohol abuse) or dependent drinking (considered chronic alcohol abuse).
The project is interested in these two strands at different ends of the hazardous drinking spectrum. Entrenched dependent street drinking at one end and binge drinking in bars and clubs, which spills out into the urban realm at the other end. This research project is not aiming to redesign existing services but instead use design methods to develop interventions, which enhance services as they currently exist.
1. ARC. (2015) What is public realm? [Online] Available from - www.arconline.co.uk/publicrealm/ what-is-public-realm. Accessed [08.06.2015]
2. England. Elizabeth II. Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Chapter 2. (2014)
3. Dunn, P. (2000) ‘No secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse ’. London: Department of Heath, pp. 8–9.
4. NHS Choices. (2015) Alcohol misuse [Online] Available from - www.nhs.uk/conditions/Alcoholmisuse/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed [08.06.2015]