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Urban Design: Safety Without Walls

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Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
9/8/2014 6:26:33 PM
User Rank City Slicker
Gated Communities
Some have heralded gated communities as the solution for Detroit and it's comeback, that made me cringe for the reasons in your blog. It would be like a science fiction movie where everyone in the Gated community live in peace and comfort. Those outside were out of luck. If that becomes a reality and a war broke out the enemy could use the new mapping techniques previously blogged about and program bombs to hit the gated communities only. Can we really purchase safety????

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
8/29/2014 11:36:16 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Architecture to Prevent/Promote Crime
Walter, this post got me thinking about the Cabrini-Green buildings in Chicago, the last of which only recently got torn down. They have been cited many times as an example of how physical building design can actually exacerbate crime. As an example, mesh fences put up to deter gang members' movement through C-G's halls made it harder for police to see inside, and several cops were murdered there while on patrol. Attacks in stairwells were also common. Do you know of examples of buildings that are thought to reduce or mitigate crime through use of light, ample exits, etc?

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
8/29/2014 11:27:59 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
Boy, talk about unintended consequences, Susan. That's a fascinating piece of social-historical fallout in policing. 

My son is obsessed with cops - dressing like them, "arresting" me for whatever infractions he can invent ("You stole donuts, Mom!"). When I stumbled across a YouTube showing a policeman in a dance-off with citizens of his beat, Jake just thought that was the best thing ever. At his age, 7, I'm showing him those and not really delving into the situation in Ferguson. 

Toby
Toby  
8/20/2014 7:51:58 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
@Susan: Your story is not surprising though it is depressing. For reasons I have not figured out (though have thought about a lot) the US tends to be very monochromatic when it comes to law enforcement both in and out of the court room. There are probably a dozen long term cultural factors that have given rise to this but I am not qualified to state what they are, only to observe the outcome.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
8/20/2014 6:01:45 AM
User Rank Blogger
exessive force
Yes, this seems to be common. There is a bit of a craze on youtube at the moment to challenge police behaviour by young hip rebels who know their rights. I like the old 'You have the right to remain silent'!! What about the more friendly 'You have the right to explain what happened and defend yourself'!

CitySolver
CitySolver  
8/20/2014 5:59:01 AM
User Rank Blogger
Police UK
I agree Toby, there has, since the terrorism of 2001, been an underhand, aggressive, secrecy ridden culture running to the heart of the police. And even if that is only in reality a minor contingent, it is still perceived to be representative. The police, especially the Met need a PR makeover. I was particularlry appaulled by he kettling that caused an innocent man to be beaten by police and died. I hope things are changing.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
8/20/2014 5:46:41 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
@Toby: One of my first encounters with American cops was when I was driving with a friend in Boston. We were on a feeder road and my friend rolled through a red light and onto the ringroad. The road was clear, but obviously he should have waited for the light to change.

Anyway, we got pulled over immediately and told to get out of the car and put our hands on the roof. I was dumbfounded. The police officer was about as unfriendly as they come and eventually let us off with a warning. But the whole thing struck me as bizarre and completely out of proportion to the infraction. Maybe there was something else going on that we didn't know about...

Toby
Toby  
8/20/2014 5:20:50 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
@David: You make a good point there. The escalation of military situations around the world and continuing use of the Internet to promote violence has given rise to an increasingly violent culture of policing in civilian circumstances. It is a sad world we have built for ourselves.

Toby
Toby  
8/20/2014 5:18:56 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
@Susan: That is good to hear. In London the police are generally wonderfully tolerant and very helpful. They have been less effective at riot control or even crowd control. However the police in the USA are probably far out in the lead when it comes to being overly aggressive and anti-citizen. I was present for the riots in NYC in 1988 when mounted police charged peaceful demonstrators in the East Village. Such behaviour leaves a long legacy of mistrust.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
8/18/2014 12:57:09 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Walled Cities and Apartment Complexes
Toby, one interesting twist here in Spain is that the police are hugely deferential to the public -- at least in my experience. They are almost shockingly courteous. It's a legacy of nearly 40 years of dictatorship. Once Franco was gone, the military was majorly demoted and the role of the police calibrated to match the new democracy. I think there would be a riot if they started getting too forceful -- although they have been dealing with regular riots themselves since the crisis took hold. And they're not without their critics, of course.

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