The social dimension of security: Exploring how surveillance systems relate to interior design

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7 Scopus citations


Recently, security issues have been dominating the headlines and policy makers’ lists of promises. Although the notion of security has long been integral to interior design, the current reliance of security measures on surveillance systems that use cameras and video monitors warrants revisiting the role of interior designers. With an overview of the literature on how electronic surveillance has been conceived, perceived, and practiced, this paper aims to set the stage for a dialogue about the opportunities that arise through greater involvement from interior designers. The analysis points to a disconnect between the systems’ application and the fusion of the physical, social, and technological dimensions of electronic surveillance into a holistic scheme. Current debates raise concerns over its aesthetic integration into the overall building design as well as its associations with feelings of fear and control, loss of privacy, discrimination, inequality, and cultural/gender insensitivity. Directions from academicians, designers, artists, and educators help frame the paper’s thesis that electronic surveillance can act as a connecting mechanism that connects people to people as well as people to the environment. Pedagogical implications of this premise suggest that by including the term “surveillance” in the terminology used in the interior design field and positioning security and surveillance in the conceptual stages of the design process, the potential for creative solutions and opportunities to challenge perceptions of fear and threat are increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Interior Design
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


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