Dmitry Serebrennikov and Dmitry Skogarevsky (both from EUSP’s Institute for the Rule of Law) have published a preprint of their article "A tale of four cities: Exploring environmental characteristics of CCTV equipment placement".
In the article, the authors take issue with the approach to the analysis of urban surveillance cameras as an all-pervading panopticon and study the specifics of the spatial context of the location of surveillance cameras. Using methods of explainable machine learning, the authors analyze cameras in the public spaces of four capitals: Moscow, Paris, Brussels and Edinburgh.
Their research shows that the different cities have different patterns of spatial arrangement of cameras. In Paris, CCTV equipment is evenly distributed throughout the city, with some bias in favor of transport hubs and tourist sites. In Brussels and Edinburgh, the cells are predominantly located in the city center and on its outskirts and resemble the fortification belts of medieval fortresses. In Moscow, we see a paternalistic approach where cameras are more common near playgrounds.
In conclusion, the authors propose to consider surveillance cameras as an element of the citywide security infrastructure, and to interpret various biases during their installation in the logic of local “security modes” that have biases to different objects that city officials and police officers are interested in controlling.
The preprint can be found at this link .
* The picture below shows the density of surveillance cameras for different cities in hexes with a diagonal of 500 m. The color varies from the number of cameras in the hex: from 0 (white) to 3+ (turquoise). Cities are represented at different scales.