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Guide to the integration of security systems in public spaces

15 juni 2021

This guide for the integration of security systems in public spaces is intended for designers, operators and managers of public spaces in the Brussels Capital Region (RBC). It is part of the sixth state reform that has given the Brussels-Capital Region a coordinating role in the field of prevention and security.

The purpose of this guide is to familiarise operators, managers and designers of public spaces with the principles governing physical security and the related administrative procedures. In line with the security study carried out in the European Quarter, this first edition of the guide focuses on terrorist and extremist threats and, more specifically, on ram vehicle attacks. After a brief introduction to the key principles of “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” (Security by Design), which provide a comprehensive understanding of security issues in public spaces, the guide discusses each of the successive steps necessary for the successful integration of security systems.

The first step is to carry out the two audits: one on security (threats and risks) and the other on the use value of a particular place. Cross-referencing these audits makes it possible to integrate safety requirements as effectively as possible into the layout of a public space and the urban furniture. While these audits may be limited to a particular public space, it is nevertheless recommended to choose a larger scale – a district or municipality – to achieve a coherent overall vision, or even the implementation of perimeters that allow cases to be dealt with in an organised way. Once the audits have been carried out, the design phase begins.

The guide reviews four types of public spaces and the recommended design principles for each: streets, pedestrian areas, squares and parks. Generally speaking, it can be said that the higher the use value of the space, the more important it is to take it into account and to integrate security systems into the layout and urban furniture.