Sunday, 21 August 2011

Riot predicting formula?

Just catching up with recent Building Design articles I came across this intriguing comment to an architecture-heartsearch piece on the recent riots;
without wishing to appear trite or contrary might I point to research by Baron and Ransberger, conducted into 102 riots in the United States of America in the four years between 1967 and 1971, that concluded the frequency of violence and ambient temperature are curvilinearly related, evidence strongly suggested that the conditional probability of a riot increases monotonically with temperature. Whilst not attempting to devalue the argument for proper care in the design of modern cities, which is, of course, fundamentally important in the nurturing of human society, I might draw attention to the dissipation of violent activity with the arrival of rain. I had experience ( as a press photographer ) of the Toxteth, Moss Side and Brixton unrest of the early '80's without exception conditions were perfect to be out late in the evening. This is not to downplay the terrible difficulties and constraints we face as a society, but is offered only as a rational, scientific, context in which to consider human behaviour. Sometimes conditions are just right for fighting. I also had the misfortune to be in Cairo for the fall of Mubarak this January, my experience of that unrest and the difficulties we endured in Hackney are quite different. Timothy Soar. Architectural Photographer. Hackney Wick. London.
Given locational evidence that riots also tend to happen in areas with an Index of Multiple Deprivation above a certain level, and in areas lacking a coherent local identity - a strong sense of 'place'  and 'belonging' - can this lead us to a Probability formula in the form of 
P(R) = (t) +(p) + (d) +(pl)
Where R is Riot, t is temperature, p is precipitation, d is deprivation and pl is a sense of place?

And for 10 marks, which of the four factors is the easiest to alter? 


Richard said...

I knew it ... the riots were caused by global warming!

Sean said...

And London is the warmest place in the UK.

Not much rioting in Glasgow despite the much-vaunted rich/poor divide being the biggest in the UK.

Water cannon with chilled water perhaps?

Ed P said...

Perhaps -f(p) or +f(-p)?

Installing outdoor fire sprinklers on inner city streets would not cost very much - at the first sign of trouble the ensuing drizzle should literally dampen it down. No-one likes a wet (man)hood!

Jeff Wood said...

Every cop knows that the most useful man on the shift is Constable Rain.

Span Ows said...

Richard, very good, just laughed out loud at that.

t and p you cannot change; d you can but it would take a while and many of the rioters certainly aren't deprived, just looking to upgrade! pl, 'sense of place'...what does this mean? Make them councilors? Chairman of street committees? Give 'em a job?

Budgie said...

People riot because they don't give a tinker's left little toe nail. Civilisations fall when too many people don't give a tinker's left little toe nail.

Anonymous said...

You have carefully avoided
(1)skin melanin concentration.
(2) Priests or the equivalent.

Greg Tingey said...

Rioting does NOT mean the end of civilisation.
See Readwald on the Gordon Riots, for instance.
As for heat, and also HUMIDITY, there was a Ray Bradbury story about that, back in the 60's .....

Budgie said...

Greg Tingey said: "Rioting does NOT mean the end of civilisation."

Who said it did?

Anonymous said...

The assumption is that the functions are monotonically curvilinear with the independent variables. With "d" ie deprivation, this is not true. If "d" is too large, then people just do not have the energy or resources to riot, besides, there being not much to loot. If "d" is too low, riot and looting becomes counter-productive. There is then an optimum level of "d" when people are more likely to riot and loot.