|Navigating most urban laneways is an unsafe and unappealing journey|
In real life, laneways are a hidden and complex urban landscape we seldom consider in our formulations for safer cites. We write about them in our stories, but not until the New Urbanists reintroduced them as a modern feature of their residential street design did we refocus on them as a crime location.
Most experienced beat cops walk downtown laneways, especially at night, because that is where things happen. Burglars frequent them because they offer easy access to the rears of homes. And kids vandalize and steal from cars in them because laneways are traditionally hidden from view.
|Attractive laneway design providing more than trash pickup|
|Landscaping and porches at the rear laneway - no chain link fences needed|
But our work in SafeGrowth, and my recent walks, suggests something different: laneway activation is much more than physical size and shape. It is also about creatively figuring how to retain car parking and trash disposal uses, while at the same time creating interesting places for socializing.
|Territorial marker at the end of the laneway - a community garden|
|Providing lighting and window sight-lines to protect vehicles|