University of Technology Sydney

89152 Design for Change: Reinvigorating Retail Precincts

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 12 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


In this studio students are required to apply various methods of problem exploration and design research to develop solutions to a current crime problem for real retail business clients. Students work on real projects, often in teams and always supported by experts in the fields of socially responsive design, environment design, crime prevention, and retail planning.

The process requires students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the range of commercial, organisational and community drivers in the retail context including loss prevention. The challenge is to develop a design approach that addresses the various drivers, while also providing an environment less prone to crime. Working with real clients in a commercial setting requires students to develop their team and project management skills in a situation dependent on the professional delivery of design outcomes.

In this subject students undertake an applied project with a local shopping area authority (council, shopping centre) in which they draw on their design research and problem exploration skills to develop a frame and design concepts that address a crime problem and re-invigorate the precinct. Students work with a broader stakeholder group in this project that includes diverse community groups, council, police, community workers, retailers and licensees among others. It requires students to develop their skills in engaging clients and stakeholders to think about crime problems and the possibilities for declining retail precincts.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Obtain experience and skills in engaging with the issues and concerns of multiple stakeholders.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of what are the drivers, key themes and crime problems for retail precincts.
3. Gain experience in reframing a crime problem, and communicating the reframe to stakeholders and client.
4. Demonstrate skills in the presentation of design concepts consistent with the reframing of a crime problem.

Teaching and learning strategies

Students are introduced to the structure and key concepts of this subject through weekly specialist lectures and communications with stakeholders. These concepts are supported and developed through weekly collaborative workshops and research conducted by students during site visits.

Students are expected to respond to progressive critique on their projects through their design work, particularly critique received through client feedback.

Content (topics)

In this semester students will have as their client a local authority responsible for a declining or depressed retail precinct with high crime. Students will explore the design problem through consulting widely with stakeholders to develop a rich understanding of the themes relevant to the crime problem. To further understand the problem, with their tutors students will investigate what are the qualities of vibrant and safe retail precincts. From this exploration of the problem students will look to create a reframing of the problem that facilities opportunities for creating a vibrant precinct. Key tasks in this projects will be communicating and engaging stakeholders in the reframing of the precinct and the related design concepts.

Minimum requirements

Active participation in group work, delivery of design concepts to partners.

Required texts

Clarke, R., & Newman, G. (2005). Designing Out Crime from Products and Systems: Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 18: Monsey (New York): Criminal Justice Press.

Dorst, K. (2006). Design problems and design paradoxes. Design issues, 22(3), 4-17.

Gamman, L. and Hughes, B. (2003). ‘“Thinking thief”: Designing out misuse; abuse and “criminal” aesthetics’. Ingenia Journal, 15(February), 36–43.

Recommended texts

Camacho Duarte, O., Lulham, R., Kaldor, L. Olga (accepted for publication) Co-designing Out Crime, CoDesign - International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts

Kimiecik, R. C. (1995). Loss prevention guide for retail businesses (Vol. 25): John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Lulham, R., Camacho Duarte, O., Dorst, K., Kaldor, L. (in press 2012) Designing a counterterrorism
bin In P.Ekblom (Ed) From Research to Realisation: Designing out crime from products. Crime
Prevention Studies (27). Boulder.: Lynne Rienner.

Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things: Basic Civitas Books.

Sennewald, C. A., & Christman, J. H. (2008). Retail crime, security, and loss prevention: an encyclopedic reference: Butterworth-Heinemann.