Friday, August 12, 2022

Living in zone 2 - a Steel City in transition

On the street in Hamilton, Ontario

by Tarah Hodgkinson  

When we came back to Canada, we wanted to live somewhere affordable and close to work. But we also wanted to live in a city. I love city life. The different cultures of each neighbourhood, the density, the people, and the food options!

So, we chose Hamilton. It met all of our criteria. And importantly, the people felt real. I had lived in beautiful, but gentrified, cities like Vancouver and Brisbane. They were clean, beautiful, and had great amenities, but also expensive and exclusive.

Hamilton felt different. There were people from all walks of life here. It felt genuine. But Hamilton is also a city in transition. When we think about areas in transition, many criminologists or sociologists will be reminded of crime theories of social disorganization and concentric zones.


In the early 1900s, criminologists Robert Park and Ernest Burgess outlined 5 concentric zones that made up city life in Chicago. These went from a zone surrounding the central business district (zone 1) all the way to the commuter zone in the wealthy suburbs (zone 5). Some zones, they said, were more vulnerable to crime.

Zone 2 neighbourhoods are in transition

Zone 2 was the zone in transition. This zone surrounded the central business district, and usually housed new immigrants or the poor as they could not afford to live anywhere but right beside the factories. When they made enough money, they would transition out of the area. This meant that there was very little cohesion and informal control in this zone, and as a result, this zone had the most crime.

Looking around Hamilton, the entire city feels like zone 2. Now, of course, there are areas that are beautiful and thriving. But having spoken to people working across the city, we’ve learned that Hamilton has fallen on hard times. COVID hit hard. People lost jobs and businesses. Poverty and homelessness are obvious and rampant. Mental health issues are evident everywhere. People here are struggling.

Hamilton feels like a Zone 2 city

Hamilton, like many of its struggling working-class city counterparts, is a manufacturing city.  The waterfront is lined with factories and 60% of the manufacturing is steel. But major employers like Stelco, have gone belly-up. And like Detroit and other manufacturing communities, Hamilton was hit hard by these major job losses.


But there are also signs of change. Hamilton has been labeled Toronto’s “Brooklyn,” as many Torontonians are leaving the big city for more affordable housing (though it is still inaccessible to most people in the city) and funky and alternative places that support local art, food, and people (see Ottawa Street).

If there is one thing we’ve learned from places like Brooklyn though, the people of Hamilton are going to have to be careful to maintain an affordable and connected community. While it might seem easier to wait for external money to make Hamilton a suburb of Toronto, doing so would spell trouble for the people who live here now. Housing needs to stay affordable. Social services need to be improved for those who are struggling. 

As we have learned from working with folks from zones in transition around the world, one of the first steps down that path is by empowering neighbourhoods through methodologies like SafeGrowth. Like other zones in transition, Hamilton residents will need to take action to not only improve their community but also keep the things that make it great.  We can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Defund the police? Absurd! Re-fund and reframe? Absolutely!

State Capitol Building, South Dakota. The Law Enforcement Training Academy is a national leader in police instructor certification in problem-based learning.
Photo Travel South Dakota

GUEST BLOG: Gerard Cleveland is a school and youth violence prevention expert and an attorney based in Australia. He is co-author of Swift Pursuit: A Career Survival Guide for the Federal Officer. He is a frequent contributor to this blog, most recently regarding policing and drones


No one serious about public safety would advocate for the abolishment of our police agencies. We need them in times of emergency, as well as to investigate and solve community crime and disorder problems. However, we do need to have a serious discussion about what we want our police agencies to focus on in the next few decades.

Greg Saville and I just finished teaching a two-week problem-solving class called Problem-Based Learning for Police Educators at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in South Dakota with a wonderful group of dedicated and talented police and public service participants. Much of the course focused on ‘what next’ and we had senior police and sheriff executives, graduates from our previous classes, visit to tell us that as our communities change, so too must our public service agencies.

During all our training courses, we challenge police and community leaders to answer some key questions they will face in the years ahead, two of which include the metaverse and artificial intelligence.

The theoretical and futuristic cyberspace called the "metaverse" poses powerful challenges to policing


If you are serving in a public role – in any agency – what plans and training have you undertaken to deal with issues in the metaverse? As that virtual area of our lives grows and becomes part of our daily activities, what role will police need to take?  If you are not sure that you need to address this issue yet, consider how much catching up policing agencies had to do with the arrival of crime on the web – especially the dark web – only a few decades ago. We do not want to be in the same position of catching up with technology as the metaverse extends its reach into our daily lives.

As well, what does your team know about the enhanced capabilities of privately owned drones? Many of our class members had never considered that the new threat of crime may be delivered via mini drones to your neighbourhoods. Their experience with drones generally extended to using police drones to clear buildings or watch traffic patterns, but almost no planning had been done to deal with drones being used for nefarious purposes by criminals. Greg describes one of the high-crime hotspots where his team brought SafeGrowth programming but then learned that the neighbourhood gang used drones to monitor police patrols.


Finally, how does your agency plan to address the development and growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? While AI will provide positive support for us in so many ways in medicine, engineering, traffic control, predictive policing, and a multitude of other ways, how have you begun to prepare – as parts of Asia have, for AI attacks on our infrastructure, our computers and even the vehicles we drive and the machines we operate?  

If you find yourself scratching your head wondering, “what do I do next?” we have a suggestion. Firstly, form some small groups with your police and community members and investigate and discuss what you can expect in the next 10 years from the above developments. Secondly, and most importantly, train your people to be problem solvers and thinkers, not reactive, call responders.  

But that last sentence is much harder than it sounds. We’ve been trying to change police training for the past two decades with limited success. I suspect that unless we reframe and fund strategies to address future trends, our current model of warrior responder will suddenly be quite irrelevant except in limited circumstances in the late 2020s and beyond. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Emonika - an outdated transport plan for a modern city

by Mateja Mihinjac

Public transportation hubs provide commuting assets to every city. That’s why it’s crucial that they are well thought-out and become well integrated into the city ecosystem. 

A key form of transport hub is the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) - a new Smart Growth form of city planning used in many cities to improve the integration of central stations and connecting services, as well as to promote the connectivity of services to populated parts of cities.

I wrote about TODs in Vancouver and Greg wrote about the central corridor TOD in St Paul, Minnesota. The Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana could benefit greatly from these considerations to improve currently underwhelming public transportation options

I recently joined the Institute for Spatial Policies’ (IPOP) Jane’s Walk where the participants discussed the proposed redevelopment of the new central station and transportation hub in Ljubljana.


The beginnings of this project date back to 2002. In 2006, the first building plan was approved but followed several revisions the 2 public-private partnerships were dissolved in the process. The project was also put on hold due to historical archaeological findings dating back to Roman Ljubljana – Emona, and ensuing excavations on the site. 

Fast forward 20 years and in April this year, new plans were announced envisioning a mixed-use development with commercial and business facilities, large parking facilities, a hotel, and exclusive apartments. 

However, it appears as if the transportation hub is now of secondary importance to this project, which is also alluded to on the project’s website:

“…A modern development that will be a hub of activity. It offers retail and entertainment experiences, state-of-the-art workplaces, a welcoming hotel and long-stay apartments. It offers first-class connectivity together with modern, stylish, urban places to live. It’s the heart of the city where life happens. It’s Ljubljana’s urban forum.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposal was met with several criticisms. In one piece, Katarina Žakelj of the Coalition for Sustainable Transport Politics questioned whether the project is still focused on the central station or whether it is a fiasco in the city centre.

We held similar discussions during the recent Jane’s Walk that I attended.  I heard concerns about insufficient time given to public consultations, problems with a large number of planned parking surfaces, and a lack of greenery which could worsen the heat island effect. 


The site envisions 1700 new parking places for motor vehicles, around 900 of these will be for visitors, and the remaining for business and office facilities. With the municipality’s intention of reducing car traffic and car dependency by 20% before 2027, this plan appears counterintuitive. One US report recognises that while there are numerous benefits of a transportation hub, we need to reduce reliance on cars and instead integrate those provisions with better public transportation services.


At the Jane’s Walk, one of the participants exclaimed “not another shopping mall!” Both the retail and business focus of the development at this prime location appear counter-intuitive. 

This new shopping venue might affect the existing retail in the city and independent shops thus leading to vacant storefronts. According to some sources, Slovenia has one of the highest square footage of retail space per capita in the EU. 

Additionally, as many have expressed the preference for working from home, future cities should be more focused on the provision of social infrastructure.


One point of contention concerns intermodality. For example, Ljubljana has no unified system under which one could use the same ticket for different modes of transport. The concept called ZMAJ proposes this much-needed change together with the development of Emonika. As well, realizing the UN-Habitat concept of a 15-minute city means that the plan needs micromobility and other flexible transportation options.


TODs are an integrative and sustainable way to build future cities, but Emonika needs to consider issues such as growing population, environmental, economic, and social sustainability, and futureproofing, not just commercial needs. Among the most important needs is the personal safety and security of the site. 

To my knowledge, these topics have not yet been explicitly discussed on any of the forums I was able to source. The developers should not neglect the potential CPTED-related topics such as after-hours safety and social activity at micro-locations. 

After 20 years of waiting the residents of Ljubljana deserve a transportation hub fit for purpose.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Social amnesia in CPTED? For goodness sakes, read the science!

With the 1996 formation of the International CPTED Association, and the newly
formed ICA Canadian chapter, CPTED is now a global phenomenon

by Gregory Saville

Happy birthday to Canada (July 1) and to the USA (July 4). Why mention this? Because the US, and to a lesser extent Canada, are the birthplace countries of CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Some say CPTED began with my old friend Professor C. Ray Jeffery’s 1971 CPTED book. Some credit Canadian-born architect Oscar Newman’s 1972 book on American architecture - Defensible Space. But CPTED truly began with American/Canadian journalist Jane Jacobs’ 1961 book about American planning – The Death and Life of Great American Cities

A decade after Jacobs’ book, CPTED began in Canada when it was presented at a University of Toronto criminology workshop in 1975. One criminologist at that event, Professor Gwyn Nettler, challenged CPTED to do the necessary scientific research to prove the theory. How, he asked, was it possible to do crime prevention with such poor quality social science of the 1970s? In other words, don’t just make stuff up. 

I first studied defensible space and CPTED at university in the late 1970s. Many years later I spoke to Lew Haines, director of the Westinghouse CPTED studies in the 1970s, and urban planner Richard Schneider who implemented CPTED planning in Hartford in the 1970s. Those were the first-ever tests of CPTED. They used a principle called “motive reinforcement” for community-building tactics. They did not describe target hardening as a CPTED principle. 

Target hardening, a legitimate tactic in technical security,
was never intended as a CPTED strategy

Eventually, traditional CPTED removed the social aspects of motive reinforcement from the theory. Traditional CPTED now includes target hardening, a concept Jeffery and Jacobs could not care one whit about.

In CPTED books of the 1990s, traditional CPTED bore little resemblance to what Jeffery was recommending at the beginning. The truth is so-called traditional CPTED is nothing like the social ecology and interdisciplinary model in Jeffery’s writing. THAT was his point at a keynote address at the 1998 ICA CPTED conference in Mississauga, Canada. 

Both social and human ecology have a long tradition in the social sciences
- Jeffery mentioned them in his theories

How can we know the difference in CPTED between fluff and the right stuff? Based on Nettler’s principles, and as Carl Sagan once said, here are some basic theory-building steps: 

  • go to the research; 
  • check the logic; and 
  • read original scientific publications.

Attempts to rewrite CPTED theory did not use these principles and ended up with ‘crime opportunity’ (aka, target hardening). Check the logic. Traditional CPTED – aka 1st Generation CPTED – became devoid of social factors. The largest bibliography on CPTED lists over 700 studies. For goodness sake, read at least some of the publications. 


That brings me to a recent blog of Tom McKay, a CPTED leader from Ontario. Tom is a former Peel Regional Police constable and he did CPTED duties after I retired from Peel Police having done the same thing. Tom is truly an exceptional fellow and went on to co-found CPTED Ontario. He was one of the original board members of the International CPTED Association. I have great respect for Tom McKay and his passion for CPTED.

Thus, it was with great disappointment I read a recent blog by him suggesting that both 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED “run the real danger of confusing the utility of traditional concepts… and trivializing and or burying traditional concepts in an increasingly unwieldy model that bears little resemblance to the traditional CPTED flowchart”


Traditional CPTED, as it is now understood, was never promoted by C. Ray Jeffery. None of Jeffery’s ideas made it into the 1990s, only Newman’s. As criminologists Mateja Mihinjac and Danielle Reynald point out in a 2017 study, “contemporary CPTED is, owing to its practical  applicability, largely based upon Newman’s original conceptualization.”

That is what Jeffery was getting at. 

Originally intended for residential and mixed residential neighborhoods, today CPTED shows up in a wide range of urban environments such as parking lots

Tom recounts the opening address of C. Ray Jeffery at the Mississauga ICA CPTED conference. I was the one who brought Jeffery to that conference and published his remarks in the ICA Newsletter. I was teaching at Florida State University’s school of criminology and Professor Jeffery’s office was nearby. He was my colleague, my mentor, and my friend. I know his dictum that CPTED should “study crime in terms of the science of ecology and call for interdisciplinary research”. Jeffery’s point was that Newman’s defensible space (aka “traditional CPTED principles”) was the problem. 

In fact, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED were created to better align CPTED with the actual theory described by Jeffery. They are enhancements to the original theory and they are expansive and interdisciplinary – precisely what Jeffery was demanding. 


Second Generation CPTED has been around for two decades and has numerous scientific research studies published by members of the International CPTED Association.

Second Generation CPTED is neither new nor unproven. In fact it is now formally incorporated into the new ISO (International Standards Organization) CPTED standard, published worldwide last month, in part developed by members of the International CPTED Association. There is also the upcoming School CPTED Guidebook published by the ICA. It is the first formal document describing steps toward 1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED to prevent violence in schools. 

The ICA is about to publish another CPTED guidebook, this one on School Safety - the first ever to incorporate 1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED

You do not automatically do 2nd Generation CPTED if you teach 1st Generation CPTED “correctly” – an absurd idea I recently heard from a confused practitioner applying for CPTED certification. That is not how it works.

Second Generation CPTED builds on decades of research demonstrating some very precise principles such as social cohesion, community culture, and neighborhood capacity issues like blighted housing.

Tom cites an article by Sally Merry in her attempt to categorize early CPTED. Ironically, Merry bases her ideas partly on British criminologist R. Mawby. Unfortunately, Mawby makes the opposite conclusion to Merry. He criticized Defensible Space for its lack of attention to factors such as social class and income. In other words, traditional CPTED of that time, as now, was silent on the social ecology of a neighborhood. That is the point Jeffery made in Mississauga.

CPTED in this “traditional” form is NOT about the social fabric in a community. If social programs are intentionally incorporated into this form of CPTED training, they are done so in spite of this early writing, not because of it. 

With a few notable exceptions, social factors were washed out of early CPTED before the 1990s. In the so-called traditional CPTED, social fabric of crime is subsumed into fun-to-add artifacts of a CPTED program (neighborhood watch to enhance natural surveillance is not 2nd Generation CPTED). That is not the social ecology described by Jeffery.


Jacobs was about healthy neighborhoods – places where people had plenty of pro-social behaviors and fewer exposures to crime. She described the crime prevention power of such activities as “tree planting, traffic calming, and community events.”

Newman realized his mistake in describing Defensible Space in physical terms that downplayed social factors. He restated his theory in his 1980 book “Community of Interest”

Newman's 1980 attempt to redefine defensible space in Community of Interest

But by then the traditional CPTED die was cast. CPTED courses far and wide taught territorial and access controls, natural surveillance, target hardening, landscaping, lighting, and so on. Go and research CPTED lesson plans on Google (basic or “advanced”… no matter). See for yourself. 

As for 2nd Generation CPTED, that has been taught for over a decade. We’ve taught it to residents, police officers, urban designers, community groups, and many others – like those in a New Orleans high-crime neighborhood – and they love it. They do not find these models confusing or unwieldy. They find them logical, and scientific, and they get positive results. They use 1st Generation CPTED, but they no longer stop with physical modifications. They build the capacity of their neighborhood so they have some say in their own safety. We argue this is the kind of CPTED that addresses Jeffery’s true concepts. 

In the free marketplace of ideas, all are welcome. Let scientific methods, logic, and original research guide the way.

The creation, modification, and expansion of theory happens through
scientific examination, checking the logic and building on prior research 


A few years ago Mateja Mihinjac and I launched the most Jefferyesque version of CPTED since Mississauga – 3rd Generation CPTED. We spent years carefully examining the original CPTED theory. Mateja is completing her doctorate in CPTED and I have published prevention theories and studies for 35 years. We were careful to follow theory-building principles, and, true to Nettler and Sagan, our propositions and hypotheses aligned with the logic of theory-building and recent supporting research. We did not just make it up.

Third Generation CPTED is the newest kid on the theoretical CPTED block. Its scientific development is still underway. But make no mistake - there is already a significant body of evidence supporting 3rd Generation CPTED. It represents an exciting way to help our 21st Century city residents figure out how to build more inclusive, ethical, and sustainable communities as we grow into the future.

That is the Jeffery moment I am having.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Launching SafeGrowth in Europe - Reflections from Helsingborg's H22 Smart City Expo

Swedish promotional video on SafeGrowth for the 
H22 Smart City Expo - music video courtesy of MOOSGH

by Mateja Mihinjac & Gregory Saville

The H22 Smart City Expo in Helsingborg, Sweden is approaching its final days. What a month it has been for the two of us and the SafeGrowth neighbourhood team on the ground! 

This is the first-ever demonstration of the SafeGrowth neighbourhood safety planning system in Europe and the H22 Smart City Expo is a month-long, international demonstration of all things futuristic, promising, and technological for cities in the future. Helsingborg is the host of the H22 Expo and the neighbourhood of Drottninghög has been the site of SafeGrowth community work for the past year. 

H22 has outdoor and indoor exhibits, conference and walking tours,
and demonstrations in different city neighbourhoods

In the first week, we held a series of safety audit workshops in Drottninghög where residents have been implementing parts of the SafeGrowth model. We hosted professional visitors from municipalities across Europe wanting to learn more about SafeGrowth and its methods. We demonstrated our safety audit process and technology using a mobile app to collect perception of safety data during night walking audits that communities can use for subsequent safety-based community work.

Evening photo of Helsingborg architecture


We also facilitated a night-time safety audit with a large group of 40 attendees from the Urban Future Conference, which was a welcome challenge. We divided participants into several small groups to demonstrate the method. It was necessary for us to keep our participants until after darkness, which mean that the audit could not effectively start until 22:30 when it finally got dark enough to observe the nighttime environment! 

Planners and city officials from across Europe attend one of our night
audits with our new mobile app

We were delighted to see they stayed late into the evening and enthusiastically engaged in the exercise. It was satisfying to hear such positive comments from the participants afterwards.

Greg, Mateja and Iman preparing for the presentation at H22 Talks

Our second highlight included two different H22 talks and Urban Future Conference presentations when we introduced SafeGrowth to industry partners. Both presentations included a brief overview of SafeGrowth and its initial stages of implementation in Drottninghög with Greg Saville, Mateja Mihinjac and Iman Abbas. The sessions included interactive discussions with the audience as they investigated how to adopt this in their own cities across Sweden and Europe. 

One of our display posters at our pavilion

We were fortunate to invite an outstanding group of panelists of our key stakeholders to the Urban Future Conference session. They included members of our neighbourhood team: 

  • Peter Karström from the Helsingborg Police; 
  • Mahad Abdullahi, a neighbourhood youth representative; 
  • Seenaa Alshohani, a neighbourhood resident representative; and 
  • Iman Abbas, The City of Helsingborg coordinator for SafeGrowth and a SafeGrowth Advocate. 

This panel shared their own personal insights into their experience with the SafeGrowth method over the past year, its potential, challenges during their work on the ground, and the future outlook. 

Three of our team members - Mateja, Mahad and Iman - getting ready
for another day of presentations


One of the most crucial roles in the entire SafeGrowth experience at the H22 Expo was the role of the SafeGrowth team under the guidance of the city’s coordinators Iman Abbas and Mia Wiklund. 

Mateja and Mia getting ready for presentation

Iman and Mia helped provide direct interaction with attendees and they demonstrated the SafeGrowth method to neighbourhood and city residents, visitors, politicians, professionals, researchers and tourists who wanted to learn about SafeGrowth work underway in Europe for the first time. Iman, Mia and all the local team members continue to spread the message until the very last day of the Expo.

We were delighted with the professionalism and expertise of all our new friends in Drottninghög and we are convinced this is the exact message deserving of a smarter - and safer - city in the future.

We thank the residents and local community of Drottninghög who continue to volunteer their valuable time to make their neighbourhood safer and more liveable. Special thanks go to Iman Abbas and Mia Wiklund who have been working tirelessly while coordinating the neighbourhood team in their SafeGrowth work and planning for the H22 Smart City Expo. 

Thank you all!

An evening meet and greet at H22 over the Helsingborg waterfront

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Painted Ladies

by Tarah Hodgkinson

A few weeks ago, we decided to take a drive out to Grimsby, a small city on the shore of Lake Ontario for a hike. We found a charming coffee shop, some neat stores, and one of the most interesting examples of community culture I have ever seen. 

We parked our car and strolled through the roundabout and surrounding streets to find several houses in the area painted up in the funky colours of Painted Ladies architecture. Many folks who live in Southwestern Ontario will be familiar with the Painted Ladies. These are a collection of houses that feature wild colour palettes and thematic designs. 

This now popular tourist destination was once a Methodist camp along Lake Ontario. The neighbourhood then transitioned to beach cottages. When the Methodist camp went bankrupt in the early 1900s, the area was replaced with an amusement park. After that closed in the 1930s, the remaining cottages were built up, winterized and decorated to reflect their interesting past. 

Interestingly, homes in the Painted Lady architectural style are not that unusual. Old Victorian and Edwardian houses, or in this case cottages, are repainted in bright colours to enhance their architectural features and embellish their historical heritage.

Other areas of the world also participate in the tradition of painting their houses bright colours including parts of Copenhagen, Ireland, and San Francisco. I would argue that none are as creative, or as individual and unique, like those in Grimsby. 


What is great about these houses, besides their fun designs, is that they create a community culture. The space is activated and people are present. Neighbours are out talking to each other and visitors to the area. The sense of place is strong and the houses, while equally bold in their colour choices, represent the individual personality of their residences. The curving and narrow road paths reflect a road network that has prioritized walking over cars. The colours are bright, not worn, reflecting that they are often updated and maintained. 

We often speak about the role of second-generation CPTED principles on this blog. These include culture. The Painted Ladies reflect not only a way to activate space (1st generation advanced CPTED), but also bring folks together through a process of constantly building and rebuilding their local sense of place. 

Like the painted intersections in Portland, or the penguin art across Penguin, Australia, these traditions not only build culture but also contribute to socially cohesive neighbourhoods.