|Sunset over New York|
On the other hand, far too much public housing results in the projects, unsafe warrens of drug dealers and crime.
In some ways, the worst side of unrepaired and ignored public housing emerges as a shadowland across the modern city, places that breed gang activity and fear. Our early SafeGrowth work began in such a place in Toronto.
The original defensible space writing of Oscar Newman was based on public housing in the 1970s, much of that in New York.
|Public housing in Manhattan along the Hudson River|
It describes Newman’s realization about the larger role of social structure of public housing - concentrating poor residents in one project, youth-to-adult tenure policies, and percent tenants on welfare. Those familiar with the Second Generation CPTED will recognize the revised ideas as the Capacity Principle. Second generation strategies in public housing show considerable promise, as reported by DeKeseredy.
|Repairs underway at a public housing apartment in New York|
A careful reading of early Newman’s Defensible Space, and especially his later Community of Interest reveals that he eventually came to consider design only one part of the crime opportunity equation. He was figuring this out as early as 1976:
"Research on residential crime patterns in 150,000 New York City public housing units has established that the combined effect of the residents' social characteristics and the projects' design affects the crime rate."
Still, I doubt that Newman really calculated all the complicated shadowland equations of public housing. There is much work yet to be done.