Universiteit Leiden

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Dangerous Cities, Mapping Crime in 19th -century Leiden and Amsterdam

Tuesday 9 April 2019
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Spanish Steps

What does mapping crime in the past tell us about the use of the urban space? Marion Pluskota will tell you all about it during this StepTalk.

About the presentation

UCL Architecture’s Space Syntax Laboratory, which focuses on crime and urban design, concluded that there was ‘no correlation between crime and density, only a poor correlation between affluence and crime, but a very strong correlation between layout type and all kinds of crime, with traditional street patterns the best and the most modern hierarchical layouts the worst’ (Hillier 2004). These conclusions, regularly repeated by criminologists, have never been tested in an historical context, when social segregation, consumption patterns, means of transport and urban design were widely different.  This presentation will showcase the results of a GIS-project based at the history department of University Leiden on urban crime in the nineteenth century. It will highlight the role of urban design, such as large thoroughfares, cul-de-sacs, shared courtyards and canals, in the shaping of crime patterns and contrast it with the use of the urban landscape by the inhabitants, in order to show how ‘dangerous’ these cities really were. 

About StepTalks

Steptalks are interdisciplinary lectures that take place on the Spanish Steps in the Wijnhaven building in The Hague.

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