Spatial effects of controlling security measures in places of mass gathering
AuthorMiller, Claire Eleanor
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2023-01-19. This item is currently available to University of Melbourne staff and students only, login required.
© 2020 Claire Eleanor Miller
This project examines the spatial effects of controlling security measures in places of mass gathering, specifically public squares, and develops a generalised framework for evaluating these effects in other spaces. Over the first decades of the twenty-first century there has been a rapid and transformative shift in perceptions of threat and national security, particularly in the west, towards preemption. This reactionary shift has introduced new motivations behind controlling security measures, amplifying tensions between security imperatives and rights to the city. Security in public space is not new, but in recent years there has been an increase in protective security interventions and a tightening of rules about acceptable behaviours. This project is motivated by a lack of understanding of the small-scale, spatial impacts of national security imperatives and the global doctrine of preemption on the fabric and lived experiences of urban places. This research employs a multiple case study analysis method to reveal generalised spatial conditions and security effects. The case study sites are Federation Square in Melbourne, Trafalgar Square in London, and Hashemite Plaza in Amman. Twelve security measures were investigated at each site, within three broad categories – panoptic devices, regulatory procedures and fortress measures. Primary source data was collected as spatial observations in the form of mapping, photographing and analysing. Each site was visited over several days during different conditions, times and events. At each visit the spatial layout of security measures was observed and noted, including how they interact with and effect each other, people and events in the space. Historical research into each site explains their development; the process of securitisation; and their varied historical, social and cultural contexts. This research reveals generalised patterns of control and power relations across diverse global sites, expressed through controlling security measures. Unexpectedly, the most insidious spatial control technique is site branding. This is the fixing of a preferred identity to a place, defining sanctioned behaviours and excluding deviating behaviours or competing spatial identities. This research explores how the political impacts the socio-spatial and is located at the intersection of urban theory, with social and political science. It contributes to the existing body of knowledge by introducing an analysis method that can be applied to other sites, and expands the existing literature geographically, and to include small scale analysis of public spaces. Opportunities for further research includes analysis of the continued development of the case study sites as new threats emerge, and the focus of global and national security shifts. While global threats today are different than when this research began, security responses continue to be characterised by control of human behaviour in public space.
KeywordsPublic space; Urban design; Security; Spatial security; Places of mass gathering; Controlling security; Preemption; Case study analysis; Federation Square; Trafalgar Square; Hashemite Plaza
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