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An industrial unit is an urban object that accommodates employment and economic activity in the processing of raw materials and in manufacturing, for the creation of goods.


Industry, an economic activity that consists of manufacturing goods and the processing of raw materials, can be broadly considered to encompass the following three archetypes:

Industry type Description Icon
Heavy Industry Land and premises associated with heavy industrial activities, such as manufacturing or processing. Heavy industry is usually planned and developed away from the urban area where there is a high residential component.
Heavy Industry
Light Industry Industrial activities that are more labour intensive and less capital intensive than the above. The output is typically an end-product, of smaller consumer goods. Light industry is typically cleaner and less impacting on the physical and natural environment, and there is less restiction on its establishment close to residential areas in the urban environment.
Light Industry
Warehousing Usually large buildings for the commercial storage of both raw materials and manufactured goods prior to distribution to retailers, etc.

Industrial employment Industrialactivities are most frequently located away from town and city centres (often in so-called industrial estates or business/commercial parks), in accordance with the zoning provisions of the relevant development plan. The character of such areas is generally single use, with little or no retail activities or residential land uses occurring within them (apart from those necessary to serve employees). This often means that they are largely unoccupied outside of normal working hours, which can raise security issues. The large footprint of the buildings required to house many industrial activities can also mean that there are significant areas that do not feature any form of passive surveillance. Warehousing Employment Warehousing and storage facilities would share many of the same characteristics of industrial employment activities, given that they are usually large buildings for the commercial storage of both raw materials and manufactured goods prior to distribution to retailers, etc.

In the text below, any of the icons in the above table will be used whenever an observation is specific to heavy industry, light industry or warehousing urban objects.



One of the key social functions of office employment is in the provision of employment for urban citizens.


Industry areas accommodate economic activity that consists of manufacturing goods and the processing of raw materials (i.e. industrial activities). Today, industry plays a major role in most Western societies, and is an important source of economic activities, generating economic impact both as a facilitator of economic activities, and as an urban development project[1].

Industrial objects are subject to both fanatics (terrorists or other types of fanatics) and unlawful intrusion (burglary). These events cause economic effects in terms of anticipation (e.g. security locks, surveillance, etc.), as a consequence of crime/terrorism (e.g. loss of valuable property), and in response to crime/terrorism (police investigation, legal system, war on terrorism, etc.). Crime and terrorism also generate secondary economic effect on other parts of the local/regional economy.

Apart from the more traditional security measures such as policing, alarm systems, surveillance and regulatory bodies, the ‘designing out’ or 'sustainable design' approach in the earliest stages in the planning process, can be in the long run an effective measure from an economic point of view to prevent security threats and reduce the economical damage[2].


The peripheral location of many industrial facilities will often dictate their mobility requirements; they will frequently generate a significant amount of congestion as people may not have the same public transport mode availability of employees working in more central or well served locations.


Specific safety issues of industrial venues arise when:

  • the object can be potentially harmful to humans (such as chemical plants, oil/gas refineries and storages, nuclear plants, etcetera)
  • the object provides an essential service to the well-being of humans and belongs to the critical infrastructure. In this case, its failure can bring harm to the people.

Security Issues

Security issues associated with industrial objects, are related with the fact that it can be an attractive object for fanatics. This is related with the potential of an industrial object to magnify the effect of an attack. This is due to the fact that the object has one of the above mentioned safety issues associated with it. Also, industrial objects often store goods that might be perceived as valuables. This makes these kinds of urban objects vulnerable for the following security issues:

The economic dimension of security issues for industrial areas/objects

The most common types of industrial employment security threats (in terms of human intent) are crime related (e.g., burglary, fraud, shrinkage). Crime generates costs in anticipation of crime (e.g. locks, surveillance, etc.), as a consequence of crime (loss of property) and in response to crime (police investigation, legal system, etc.). As a secondary impact, crime has (amongst others) an impact on the local industrial real estate value.


The measures for each type of security issue can be found on the respective pages. There are few measures they are specifically suited or unsuited to this kind of urban object, but some general considerations can be mentioned:

  • As industrial objects are closed (non public) areas, taking measures for exit and entry screening are in general not a problem, as is surveillance, as long privacy is respected
  • For an optimal security policy for the organisation in the office, all aspects of security should be coherently considered in the security strategy. This means that physical/procedural/organisational security measures should be coordinated with cyber/information security and personnel security. If this coordination is not assured, security gaps and overlaps can occur in the security regime, both of which can be detrimental to the level of security.

The economic dimension of security measures for industrial areas/objects

  • Under construction

Apart from the more traditional security measures such as policing, alarm systems, surveillance and regulatory bodies, the ‘designing out’ approach in the earliest stages in the planning process can be an effective measure to prevent security threats and reduce the economical damage.

Footnotes and references

  1. Industrial area development creates direct construction activity (primary economic impact, including planning professionals, commercial real estate agents, attorneys, designers, marketing, landscaping, etc.). The secondary impact of construction generates business for a variety of business types such as insurance companies, cleaning services, park management providers, etc. On the long term, industrial employment creates local jobs, income and taxes generated by the consumption and other spending of industrial terrain users (e.g. local consumption by employees, the generation of spin-offs, clustering of related industries such as suppliers, etc.).
  2. In general, these measures demand larger investments than traditional security measures, but at the same time they are able to avoid future costs due to the long-term prevention of crime. width=100% border=0 scroll=auto align=middle </websiteFrame> <headertabs/>

Footnotes and references