Key Lessons in Urban Security

Introduction 

Building upon the State of the Art Review of the research evidence and accumulated knowledge-base in urban security, the IcARUS project has now co-produced and published a Roadmap for the improvement and definition of novel urban security tools. It sets out strategic principles and broad design requirements to be taken into consideration in defining, designing and implementing new strategies and technologies in urban security. The aim of the Roadmap is to provide a framework to guide the development of new innovative tools to enhance urban security. The primary purpose is to inform the tools developed in the six partner cities within the IcARUS consortium. More broadly, it is intended that the Roadmap will provide a helpful guide to security practitioners and programme designers across Europe. It seeks to complement a human-centred design approach to problem-solving and provides the parameters to guide those decisions in a way that ensures the accumulated knowledge from research and practice informs resultant tools and practices.

A Guiding Framework

The Roadmap draws directly on the key lessons and findings from the State-of-the-Art Review of the accumulated research knowledge base and the Inventory of Tools and Practices. In addition, the Roadmap draws upon established guidance produced by the European Forum for Urban Security and its 2017 Manifesto Security, Democracy and Cities: Co-producing Urban Security Policies. It seeks to consolidate the accumulated learning and to present this in ways that can guide future innovative developments. 

The Roadmap is intended to provide a framework that underpins and informs the subsequent IcARUS project activities, notably the design, development and implementation of the tools and practices in the six partner cities – Lisbon, Nice, Riga, Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Turin. The intention is that the tools and strategies will be fashioned and co-designed with relevant stakeholders and representatives of end-users in the targeted city locations where they will be implemented, guided by the principles set out in the Roadmap

A central finding from the State-of-the-Art Review is that the processes of problem identification, design, context, implementation and evaluation matter greatly. Much of the research evidence base has focused on the questions of ‘what works’ and the effects on outcome patterns detached from the contexts that shape them and the processes through which they are given life and expression.

Beyond informing the IcARUS project, the Roadmap is also designed to provide an accessible resource to guide and assist urban security practitioners and policy-makers across Europe in fashioning research-informed, innovative strategies. It seeks to provide actionable knowledge with wide-ranging application. However, it comes with the important caveat that all urban security interventions are shaped and their effectiveness influenced by the contexts that sustain them and the implementation processes through which they are enacted and delivered.

The guiding principles and learning set out in the Roadmap are clustered around seven broad thematic pillars. These include: (1) problem identification; (2) partnerships; (3) design and innovation; (4) implementation; (5) outcomes; (6) evaluation; and (7) communication. These have implications across diverse fields of urban security. The Roadmap also provides some parameters for designing tools and practices in relation to the four IcARUS focus areas: preventing juvenile delinquency; preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism; preventing and reducing trafficking and organised crime; and designing and managing safe public spaces. It concludes with some recommendations specifically for the IcARUS project in implementing and supporting the Roadmap within the consortium. 

Ultimately, realising the blend of past learning with future provision and the combination of social and technological innovation in ways that address the safety needs of diverse communities across European cities is the challenge that the IcARUS project is seeking to address. It is intended that as the project develops reflections and feedback the utility and coverage of the Roadmap will be solicited and will inform any subsequent revisions to the Roadmap as a living document. 

‘Any feedback on the Roadmap in the first instance can be submitted to: adam.crawford@york.ac.uk  and will be gratefully received.’

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