CCTV - Designing a better environment...

by R27 CREATIVELAB on Wednesday, 22 April 2009

First a few words from Jill Scott's song " Watching Me"

First thing when I wake up
and right before I close my eyes at night
I think,
Feel man like
I'm under some kind of microscope
satellites over my head
transmitters in my dollars
hawking, watching, scoping, jocking
scrutinizing me
checking to see what im doing
where I be
who I see
how and where and with whom I make my money
What is this??

Excuse me miss
May I have your phone number and your social security ?
Who me?
When all I came to do is buy my double or triple A batteries


I don't know if its just me but everywhere I go I keep noticing a very specific kind of visual junk. Its incorporated itself into the older housing developments but also seems to be the norm in the latest community friendly living environments. Of course I'm talking about CCTV cameras.

I understand there are places that these cameras need to exist, but they're ugly. Okay they are supposed to stand out to keep people on the straight and narrow and help us feel more secure. But the threat that they are watching doesn't seem to be enough to deter unsocial activity?

Now I don't know whether this is specific to the UK but it seems like we're being watched by the everyone for any reason deemed necessary. New laws brought in to fight terrorism are now being used to fight much smaller social issues. From local councils to the big boys...

I know, I know if you haven't done anything wrong then what are you afraid of, well I'm not afraid but are we not supposed to be designing living areas that make us feel more comfortable rather than a constant reminder of how terrible a place is?

Everywhere I go there's something looking back at me, hardly calming, pleasant and warm. So what are we to do? How are we going to move forward without the feeling of Big Brother watching over us in all that we do.

There are plenty of cases where cameras have helped and just as many when cameras were in the area but didn't seem to be looking in the right direction. For those who haven't done anything wrong and aren't planning too how does this make you feel? Do you care? What's it like in other parts of the world? What can architects and designers do to help solve the problem of unsocial activities from the minority of social deviants?

Let me know your thoughts and feelings?


Good point, in my country surveillance cameras are hidden specially in modern buildings. lip stick cameras are used in clubs, it is only in banks and institutions where security cameras are needed to be seen is it more visible. You are right in pointing out the need to be aesthetically conscious even with the elements in our environment. Great post.

by Digigirlmisty on 22/04/2009, 19:12. #

I love your image, Rajesh, and the editorial observation.

I remember those cameras being everywhere when I lived in Chicago. Now, up here in along Grand Traverse Bay in Michigan we still have cameras but not a many. Mostly at large traffic intersections.

I guess what bothers me more is the potential for "big bother" abuses into our privacy as newer technologies become available and how everything is migrating online. I was a voyeur of social media for a long time because I wasn't sure how much of my "personal" self I was willing to share.

by Joann Sondy on 22/04/2009, 19:22. #

Nice one, Big Brother is Google too

by ODWGOOG on 28/04/2009, 11:19. #

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Best Regards Rajesh