Comprehensive approach

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A comprehensive approach in general seeks to address the range of threats by the full spectrum of instruments in order to realise security from a broad point of view, such as objective security, feeling of security, secure and resilient infrastructure, security of the society as a whole, etc.[1] The comprehensive approach as a concept can refer to several dimensions: planning, capability development, security policy and research, in a variety of sectors (transport, energy, food, health care etc.); and is an essential issue to be addressed in emergency management and in each phase of the crisis management cycle.

Comprehensive approach to urban planning

A comprehensive approach to urban planning reflects the fact that in urban systems all phases of the crisis management cycle may be experienced simultaneously in different parts of the city.

While a part of the city may be struck by an incident (such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack), other parts may be under warning, evacuation, or even in an immediate post-disaster phase with restoration (e.g. of supply-related infrastructure) beginning. Still other parts of a city may be in the role of observers and drawing immediate lessons for risk assessment, mitigation, prevention, and preparedness (see crisis management cycle). An ideal tool would consider this non-linearity. Adding to this non-linearity, an ideal approach to consideration of security aspects in urban planning should also reflect that resilience in cities should be grounded in a holistic view of sustainability. Research has proposed to consider the following five interconnected functional components: social, economic, political, demographic, and environmental.[2]

Conceptual background

In terms of concept, the comprehensive approach is a reaction to acknowledged limits of the risk reduction approach[3]: By the mid-1990ies, risk reduction was found not to meet public safety needs in risk-prone areas. The solution was sought in a "comprehensive approach" that at the same time would retain the local focus of the community safety approach. As a result, crime control was connected to the general idea of maintaining a normatively good order in a society, reaching from criminal up to environmental issues, and at the same time the concept of devolution of responsibility for enacting such a "comprehensive community safety strategy"[4]

Footnotes and references

  1. Cf. FOCUS Project(Foresight Security Scenarios – Mapping Research to a Comprehensive Approach to Exogenous EU Roles): Deliverable 3.1: Problem space report - Comprehensive approach, September 2011. Retrieved from:; FOCUS Project (Foresight Security Scenarios – Mapping Research to a Comprehensive Approach to Exogenous EU Roles): Deliverable 3.2: Alternative future models of comprehensiveness, January 2012. Retrieved from:
  2. Pelling M.: The Vulnerability of Cities: Natural Disasters and Social Resilience. London: Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2003, 12.
  3. Cf. Hope T., Shaw T. M.: Communities and Crime Reduction. London: HMSO, 1988.
  4. Matthews R., Pitts J.: Introduction: Beyond Criminology?, in: Matthews R., Pitts J. (eds.): Crime, Disorder and Community Safety: A New Agenda? London/New York: Routledge, 2001, 1-25, (4).