Friday, February 28, 2014

The visual language of security

Matthais Megyeri's security fence with attitude - photo Matthais Megyeri

Thinking about my Design Out Crime colleagues, I came across Matthais Megyeri a brilliant German artist and designer based in London and Stuttgart. He has exhibited his work around the world including New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Among other fascinating projects with Matthias' company Sweet Dream Security, he redesigns security fences and cameras and shows how to change the visual language of public security devices. This is a much needed gift as security creeps into our lives.

Love chain - photo Matthais Megyeri
I first heard of Matthais last year from Lorraine Gamman at the Design Against Crime Centre in London. She mentioned his work and so I contacted him last year and was impressed by his off-beat and comical art with security devices.

Describing his own work on one blog he says:

"I was never really interested in security products as objects. And I certainly don’t design them because I like them. But I was struck by their visual presence in everyday London life…I decided to use my skills to change the visual language of security products from depressing to seriously humorous."

Check him out.

Birds of a feather - photo Matthais Megyeri
Lock of humour - photo Matthais Megyeri

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rainbow de Colores

Every now and then some irresistible news comes along you just can't wait to share.

Today I received that news; a team project seeded from our 2010 Philadelphia LISC SafeGrowth course is up for a prestigious video award. The video "Rainbow de Colores Park" produced by APM For Everyone describes a capacity-building project in a small park in eastern north Philadelphia. It's the kind of news we need in every troubled community, everywhere!

The Philly Focus website hosting the video describes it "Faced with an epidemic of crime and blight, one small block of neighbors in North Philly reached out for city allies and took matters into its own hands. The story of Rainbow de Colores park as told by two of its current caretakers and longtime community residents, Oscar and Lamont."

This is one of the most creative and artistic short films I've seen on safety.

The contest requires your vote on line. Please watch it and register to vote for the video. Good work deserves applause. And our help.

Vote here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sustainability and Safety Through a Community Garden

Northey Street City Farm. Activating space on market day - all photos by Mateja Mihinjac


Mateja Mihinjac is a criminologist completing doctoral research in CPTED at Griffith University, Australia. She is a member of the International CPTED Association and been involved in criminal justice issues in Europe and Australia for a number of years. Mateja’s guest blog offers an excellent example of placemaking through community gardens.  

For an avid market-goer like myself, Northey Street City Farm with a Sunday organic market is a perfect place to stock up on my fruit and veggies for the week. By promoting social interactions at a micro-level, community gardens like Northey improve community integration, strengthen social ties, promote wellbeing and even improve safety.

These by-products of community garden activities cumulate in social capacity building (a basic principle of 2nd Generation CPTED), which advances self-sufficiency and a sense of community ownership. In turn that promotes what Jane Jacobs famously called the healthy ecosystem.

Urban gardens for placemaking have made appearances in this blog, such as those in Portland and Indianapolis. The Northey Street City Farm provides yet another version - the urban farmer's market.

A market-goer pedaling her own smoothie
Located in the suburb of Windsor in Brisbane, Australia, Northey gets swamped by both stallholders as providers of sustainably grown local produce and Brisbane residents as its consumers. It is, however, more than just a market.

Northey Farm is also a welcoming community garden that has been open since 1994 as a non-profit community organisation offering economically sustainable produce and community building activities through permaculture.

On a daily basis this place is activated by a number of placemaking activities; tours around the Farm, courses teaching how to start a community garden, how to garden and plant, cultural events, and playgroups for kids. The place also offers a quick meal and a cuppa at the garden’s cafĂ© or you can maintain your own vegetable garden within the Farm community.

Offering ample opportunities for refreshment and interaction
Translating these ideas across the whole city offers the prospect for building a vibrant city with positive interpersonal relations. It will help connect people with their environment while offering opportunities for fun and exploration.

Northey Farm symbolises the ideas stemming from Jane Jacobs’s vision of a modern urban city—to become a safe and liveable ecosystem. Because it is sustainable, it demonstrates how we can create thriving urban ecosystems in the years ahead.

View of the cafe at the centre of the market