Just to be the devils advocate here, since this is something that bothers me often.
''Awareness and avoidance''
Yes that's fine, but what many people who preach this need to realize is that something can happen regardless of the neighbourhood/establishments you frequent and the time of day.
Awareness of the two is actually more important, but violent criminals often use tactics that can get even a well trained or suspicious individual to lower their guard for a brief moment.
Firstly, I'm no SD expert so take what I say with a grain of salt. A lot of what I'm saying is repeated from GT, MacYoung and Rory Miller. Their arguments make a lot of sense to me.
I fully agree that awareness is the more important of the two, which is why I list awareness first. The point is not to completely protect yourself from predators using only awareness and avoidance, but rather to make yourself a harder target. This might put you at less of a disadvantage when you do need to physically defend yourself.
A common method is to simply approach politely and ask for something like a smoke, the time or something else that typically requires you to go through your pockets or purse - even if the person declines flat out saying they don't smoke, or knowing the time without having to look at their watch typically we will be less suspicious of someone approaching us civilly and politely in speech.
Also this action gets the individual close enough to initiate an attack with little chance for the victim to simply run away.
Part of awareness is realising that this is happening and not being comfortable with people getting in your personal space. It's not impossible to train this, and certain small changes to your stance, automatically putting up a fence and even something as small as looking them up and down to check for weapons might deter an attack. Anything you can use to your advantage in a social predatory setting like this seems to me to be useful for SD.
So my point is... Avoidance is somewhat common sense - you wouldn't go walking around at night wearing a suit in the worst neighbourhood in your city, would you?
Awareness of the two is mort important but as I said before experienced violent criminals will use very effective tactics to approach you to try and catch you off guard.
So teaching self defense what matters above all else is teaching self defense techniques instead of ''fighting techniques''
The difference is very big. If there's a ''fight'' we are prepared for it or at least we get some sort of warning.
A self defense technique is in response to an attack we have no warning for. Someone blitzing you, someone grabbing you from behind, grabbing a limb, threatening with a weapon and so on.
So of self defense in general ''awareness and avoidance'' is an introduction course, 1% of the formula. When we have to defend ourself we need to use our weapons wether they are effecient techniques or fast legs, being avoidant & aware wont get you out of a situation that is already occuring.
I will just point out that without noticing that you are in danger, no self defense technique will work. If you are already bleeding from a knife wound you didn't see coming, your response will potentially be weakened. Watching the space around you, distances to people and likely predators improves your chances of avoiding physical self defense and the associated legal repercussions. The more advance warning you have of an attack, the better your chances of survival.
As to the technical training you suggest, it certainly sounds good to me. I don't train that way, because I'm in a sport MA, but if I were focused on SD, I would probably choose that route.
Avoidance, as you said, is just common sense.