Saturday, December 19, 2009

Benches and bikes - changing the simple things

Benches for people, not vandals

The Design Out Crime (DOC) agenda for prevention can be simple and effective. Back in June I briefly mentioned the DOC work in the UK (click here).

DOC hasn't made many appearances of late. It's time it did.

The SafeGrowth philosophy is enmeshed in social development, competent neighborhood governance, and informed civic empowerment. In the troubled places we explore in this blog, such lofty themes easily get lost in the grind of fear, poverty and crime. It's easy to slip back into a narcissistic "nothing works". When that happens it's critical to remember this: because something is difficult does not mean it is impossible.

Consider the stories of success in my July entries on graffiti, intersection repair, tackling homelessness, urban gardens and the beginning of Bogota's remarkable renaissance.

There are simpler approaches. While not specifically about neighborhood redevelopment, they too can get things started in a positive way. Some that merit a peek appear in the latest International CPTED Association newsletter this week.

My colleage Lorraine Gamman runs the Design Against Crime Research Center (DACRC) in London, UK and they lead the world in thinking about designing crime opportunities out of simple everyday things.

Check out the latest issue of the CPTED Perspective newsletter and see DACRC's new theft-resistent bike rack and vandal proof (yet user-friendly) street bench.

Securing the whole bike

SafeGrowth may be the eventual evolution of the troubled community...

..but DOC and CPTED may be one way we get started.

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