Design as a preventive approach in residential settings-On fall injuries, suicidal situations and the role of architecture
Book chapter, 2020
The chapter will elaborate on the possibilities to work with design solutions to reduce the amount and consequences of injury events in residential settings. As well-known in the literature, injuries are a great global burden, causing both individual and community losses in different ways. At the same time, injury prevention is complex, since the risk factors tend to correlate on different levels. This makes it hard to find suitable strategies. Also, the majority of preventive strategies focus on the individual or social counter measures, though research has proven that spatial as well as environmental countermeasures can be effective. Therefore, this chapter will shift focus and acknowledge how individuals interact with the social and physical environment in order to highlight the importance of design strategies as a preventive approach. If we are to work with design strategies as a preventive approach, there is a need to engage in definitions and conceptualizations of injury events. We also need to look at theory and theoretical adaptation and, finally, develop concrete prevention strategies aiming at specific situations. As discussed here, injury prevention by design can start out from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and reconnect to the thoughts of Jane Jacobs and Oscar Newman. Nevertheless, CPTED needs to be adapted since crimes and injuries differ in some ways, which also stresses the importance of conceptualization, definitions and theory. In the work presented here, CPTED is adapted to IPTED (Injury Prevention Through Environmental Design) by working systematically with concepts, definitions and by theorizing injury events. Thus, as argued in this chapter, this kind of systematic work is of great importance in avoiding pitfalls in preventive work. The case studies presented here, describing fall injuries and suicides, are considered in line with this systematic approach. This approach not only stresses the importance of defining specific situational elements, it also underlines how and why architects are one of the most important actors in injury prevention.