Architecture of Fear

RELATED TERMS: Disciplinary societies and societies of control;

Architecture of Fear is the title of a book edited by Nan Ellin. The book examines the ways in which the contemporary landscape is shaped by modern society’s preoccupation with fear. This is apparent in home design, security systems, gated communities, semi-public spaces such as shopping malls, theme parks, casinos and office atriums, zoning regulations and cyberspace. It also manifests itself in efforts to provide public parks but which, at the same time, seek to control the problem of homelessness. The essays in the book argue that such disjointed efforts exacerbate rather than eradicate the sources and perception of fear and insecurity. The contributors offer concrete suggestions for proaction, not reaction, to counter both real problems in contemporary society, such as actual crime, and perceived problems, such as those magnified by the mass media.


Ellin, N. (ed.) (1997) Architecture of Fear. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press.