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Thread: Defensible Space

  1. #1

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    Defensible Space

    Are quiet cul-de-sacs watched over by neighbors the safest? Or are busy through-streets the safest?

    Interesting little article. On the surface convincing, but what do you'all think?

    http://www.spacesyntax.com/housing/B...rimePaper.html

  2. #2
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Integrated and connected is good

    Thanks for the link - I am really interested in this kind of research. I haven't read the whole thing but the 2nd to last para seems to sum it up:

    It is time to drop the idea, and let the combination of police experience and hard evidence that is now emerging create the guidance that can and will make life that much harder for the criminal. The evidence we have so far suggests we should move on from the universal cul de sac, with through streets only as a necessary evil - a layout with frightening implications for the future of the public realm of our towns and cities - and go for integrated and 'everywhere constituted' street and road networks, with constituted linear cul de sacs directly linked to the through streets for the sake of variety and choice. We must begin to design the connecting tissue of our cities again, and populate it with those who choose its lifestyle.
    Jane Jacobs approach to CPTED gets some support while Oscar Newman's hypothesis is weakened. I've just taken some pics that would back up the findings of the Space Syntax research.

    There's a fine line though, in the balance between privacy and security and the transition between the private and public realm....... not easy to get it right so that everyone is happy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNL
    Jane Jacobs approach to CPTED
    "Eyes on the street" is in my opinion a truly valid CPTED approach. Shorter setbacks, windows and doors oriented to the street with garage doors setback. Multi-story buildings and at least 12 dwellings per acre (the density number is different depending on which designer you talk to). I believe Jane was thinking 100 units per acre. Anyway I like Jane's observations, particularly as they relate to the design of public spaces and parks in particular. Smaller urban parks are better and the adjacent land use mix determines the daily life cycle of park activity. The beautiful rythm of a health city.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    i live on a fairly busy corner in the city and if i hear something out of the ordinary i immediately go to the window - and i always catch my neighbors doing the same thing.

    I've also developed the strange ability to instantly recognize people who "aren't from the neighborhood."

    the whole study seems to just reiterate what people in cities already know.
    When you're walking alone at night stick to the busier streets with the few visual obstructions.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    the whole study seems to just reiterate what people in cities already know.
    When you're walking alone at night stick to the busier streets with the few visual obstructions.
    Sure, valid point, but not exactly a proactive approach. Sounds like you're saying 'stay away from scary dark places'. But what about people who have to venture into dark areas with "visual obstructions" to get to work, school, home etc after dark? Or a tourist who becomes lost? I'm not for one second advocating lighting up every street and clearing all visual obstructions, which isn't likely to be either practical or desirable, but cities that are safe and comfortable for after-dark pedestrian movement don't just happen by accident. Variety and choice are key words in the paragraph I quoted from the paper above.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNL
    Sounds like you're saying 'stay away from scary dark places'. But what about people who have to venture into dark areas with "visual obstructions" to get to work, school, home etc after dark?
    Not at all. I live in close proximity to some pretty intimidating streets and my life would be a lot easier if I felt more comfortable walking down them at night.

    I'm just saying that, while it's great someone did a study on this i don't think it was necessary. It's nice to be able to prove it to the anti-urban set but we already knew this.

    The short of it is that we didn't need to wait for this report to be able to tell people, with confidence, that we need to build more streets like these and fewer streets like these.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    Not at all. I live in close proximity to some pretty intimidating streets and my life would be a lot easier if I felt more comfortable walking down them at night.

    I'm just saying that, while it's great someone did a study on this i don't think it was necessary. It's nice to be able to prove it to the anti-urban set but we already knew this.
    I see a disconnection between these two statements. How do you propose to make streets more comfortable for walking down at night, without taking a proactive strategic stance to try to design/improve them to be safer? And if you want policy/strategy that promotes this, then you need hard evidence to back your theories that certain treatments will enhance pedestrians' comfort.

    This is not intended as a personal attack BTW, I am enjoying the debate. I have been working to increase awareness in my country of the potential for the application of CPTED principles to help create safer spaces, but so often we run up against local authorities with inflexible budgets who ask 'Why should we invest in safer design? Who says it will improve things? Where is your evidence? Are there any studies on this?'. So I see this kind of investigation as extremely useful. Gives me a reference to put in my reports and a link to circulate to increase awareness.

    I agree the findings are common sense and maybe don't tell us anything we didn't already know, but I see the report as a useful resource.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNL
    I see a disconnection between these two statements. How do you propose to make streets more comfortable for walking down at night, without taking a proactive strategic stance to try to design/improve them to be safer? And if you want policy/strategy that promotes this, then you need hard evidence to back your theories that certain treatments will enhance pedestrians' comfort.
    You're missing something - i never said you shouldn't take a proactive stance. I never said you shouldn't encourage/legislate safer design. I just said that we already know what makes a street unsafe. The police already know it. We have the crime data to prove it.

    I am proactive about it - unfortunately, here in the crowded cities of the third world, it's difficult to get city councilmen (who take large "contributions" from developers) to agree with you. A new study changes nothing about that.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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