Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 — Towards a 3rd Generation CPTED

By Mateja Mihinjac

Recent developments in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana resonate with ideas similar to Smart Growth, an urban planning method promoting human-scale design, ecological sustainability, sense of place, and opportunities for community engagement.

These ideas fit into a new theory now emerging as a Third Generation CPTED.

Ljubljana’s story begins with worsening climate conditions prompting numerous European countries to improve sustainability and the environment. In 2016 Ljubljana was awarded the prestigious title of a European Green Capital for its environmental sustainability work.

Lively Slovenska Boulevard now reserved for pedestrians, cyclists
and public transport

GREEN CITY

Ljubljana has undergone a major transformation in its city centre in the past decade. Changes include an ecological zone where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is now prioritized over motor vehicles. The city is committed to its zerowaste management program, expansion of green spaces, reduction in noise pollution and an increase in air quality.

As the public realm greens and becomes more attractive, satisfaction with the image of the city and its environmental conditions reflect the municipality’s commitment to a green agenda.

Attractive green spaces offer ample opportunities for social interaction
Photo Marusa Babnik
CPTED pioneers Jane Jacobs and Oscar Newman often cited famous urban planner Kevin Lynch who wrote Image of the City in 1960 and said the imagability of a city - the quality of the physical environment - evokes feelings that make a place interesting and “invites the eye and ear to greater attention and participation”. In SafeGrowth we argue that also makes it safe.

This is how sustainable environmental urban design leads to a Third Generation CPTED and how it can contribute to safety.

Accordingly, Eurostat surveys on Ljubljana showed the levels of satisfaction with public spaces, availability of green spaces and cleanliness increased since 2009 to nearly 90% satisfaction levels in 2015. Accompanying the green evolution is an improved quality of life.

LIVABLE CITY

Ljubljana’s focus on the city’s sustainable development created multiple activity nodes with opportunities for social interaction. Over 90% of the residents have consistently felt safe and trust in others in the city centre has increased from 57% in 2009 to 65% in 2015. Ljubljana also jumped to top 10 most livable EU capitals.

Preseren Square, the main piazza and activity node of Ljubljana

Ljubljana’s public realm achieves both First and Second Generation CPTED goals through increased social interaction and a higher sense of safety. In this case, much of that safety arises through integrating these CPTED components through sustainable technologies and green spaces. That is how a Third Generation CPTED might function in the future.

If Ljubljana successfully expands their green transformation of public spaces to the whole city, they may begin to realize a truly livable and socially cohesive city as advanced in its 2025 vision.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Connecting in third places

Australian hostels truly get how to do third places
By Tarah Hodgkinson 

One of the main tenets of SafeGrowth is social cohesion. I recently spent a few weeks in Australia as part of a conference and research trip. During this trip, I spent some time in hostels on the east coast of the country. I was reminded of the importance of shared spaces or third places and their role in encouraging social cohesion.

Third place is a term coined by Ray Oldenberg in his book The Great Good Place. Oldenberg claims that we have three places:

  • The ‘first place’ is the home, shared with those who live in the home. 
  • The ‘second place’ is the workplace. These places are where we spend the most time. 
  • The ‘third place’ then is the place where we find community and social life. He argues these third places are the anchors of community and social engagement. 

COFFEE SHOPS - MORE THAN COFFEE

Examples of the third place include local coffee shops, pubs, rec centers, barber shops, farmer's markets, community gardens and other places where people can come together, meet and socialize.

Third places are more than just a location outside of work and home to congregate. These places must have certain characteristics in order to become a third place. They should be neutral (no one has claim over them), they should be leveling (no one social status matters more), they should be free or inexpensive, they should be accessible to everyone, there should be regular faces and they should promote conversation over everything else.

Australian hostels get how to do third places. They boast numerous shared spaces including shared kitchens, recreation rooms, seating areas, computer areas and cheap cafes. This is ideal for the traveler trying to connect with others.

Gardens and parks - third places with flowers
This is vastly different than hostels in Canada and some in Europe, that operate more as a hotel, where the only shared spaces are bars and restaurants, which are not only costly but don’t encourage natural conversation.

What can Australian hostels teach us about community engagement? Oldenburg claims third places are the center of civic engagement and civil society and necessitate the steps of social change. They do so because they allow people to come together, to share ideas, discuss issues and mobilize for change.

When I stayed in hostels that had third places, I met fellow travelers with ease, learned about fun, entertainment hot spots and made friends, many of whom I am still in contact with. This did not happen in the hotel-like hostels. In neighborhoods, third places trigger social engagement and cohesion and this is the beginning of how we start changing neighborhoods for the better.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Renaissance Man was in charge

Retired police chief Norm Stamper at a recent Ted Talk

by Greg Saville

I first met Norm Stamper twenty years ago when he took over as Chief of the Seattle Police Department. He was a thought-leader with a PhD, an author, an advocate for community policing, he had decades of police experience in the San Diego Police. And now he was leading a major city police agency!

The Renaissance Man was in charge.

All this was a decade before troubles brewing in Seattle Police led to a federal government Consent Decree to repair a department that had gone wrong. You may remember Chief Stamper when he retired in 2000 shortly after the Seattle WTO protests, the so-called Battle of Seattle. We quickly forget how the loss of a great leader costs us all.

Norm will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual conference of the Police Society for Problem Based Learning. His message resonates now more than ever.


Norm's recent book, To Protect and Serve: How to fix America's Police, and the mandate of the PSPBL, provide the ideal recipe in a profession that so badly needs new ingredients. This year's PSPBL conference Stepping Into Innovation, Aug. 16-18 is in Tucson, Arizona. It will host a roster of talented speakers with tactics for success in training, education, emotional intelligence and problem-solving. Norm Stamper will keynote.

If you care about 21st Century policing, this is the conference to see.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The new amnesia


by Greg Saville

A new amnesia is creeping into crime prevention. And we are left with criminal justice fads: programs that are little more than old wine in new bottles; police “enforcement” teams as ineffective as they are discredited; new, unproven security technologies ad naseum

Few remember that, once upon a time, well-established community crime prevention and problem-oriented policing strategies actually cut crime. They were not abandoned because they no longer worked on modern problems. They were abandoned because the latest generation did not learn the lessons of history. In truth, new leaders obsess on foisting the latest fad on an uninformed public.

Someone forgot to teach them history.

BOOK REVIEW – DESIGNING OUT CRIME

Case in point: The book Designing Out Crime edited by Len Garis and Paul Maxim (2016).

There are some intriguing chapters in this book like Peters’ “Transitions and Social Programming”, particularly the discussion on homelessness. Another by Plecas and Croisdale is equally compelling: “Doing Something about Prolific Offenders”.

But then the story sours. Jordan Diplock’s chapter on “Designing Out Opportunities for Crime” is particularly narrow. It limits itself to a target hardening version of 1st Generation CPTED (including the discredited broken windows theory or the pseudo-scientific routine activity theory).


Target hardening with fences

It mentions how cities like Saskatoon established CPTED review committees to implement CPTED, but it fails to mention that Saskatoon's version of CPTED is actually called SafeGrowth and all design guidelines incorporate the social programming inherent in 2nd Generation CPTED.

The chapter also bypasses the literature of 2nd Generation CPTED, ignores theoretical progress in the last 15 years, and overlooks the practical progress made by hundreds of practitioners who promote CPTED around the world (including British Columbia) within the International CPTED Association.

This historical amnesia is surprising since the book proclaims, “Crime prevention is a societal matter that relies on a commitment from the entire criminal justice system plus the community at large”.

That's well and good, except it then presents chapters on technology, administrative tactics, and regulatory approaches that, while interesting, stray far from that proclamation about the community at large. Particularly worrisome is the obsession on target hardening, technical security devices, and other tech glitz, for example, a chapter on “Designing Out Crime Through the Use of Technology”. There’s not much community at large in that!

Technology can help or hinder - community engagement is the key

GOLDEN AGE 

Most disappointing is this: This book was written in British Columbia. In the 1990s British Columbia was the site of Canada’s first police academy Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) course taught to hundreds of officers, Canada’s first national POP conference, and its first government Commission recommending POP and crime prevention. 

That Golden Age of Crime Prevention and POP faded to dust, as demonstrated by books like this. It faded when police leaders and politicians lost focus and then defunded workable community crime prevention. It fizzed away like a bottle of stale Canadian beer.

This is the new amnesia. And it’s not restricted to British Columbia!

Why is this so?

To the credit of the book, a quote by a retired RCMP Sgt. Brian Foote offers the best answer. I worked with Sgt Foote in BC teaching CPTED years ago. Brian is among the most outstanding prevention practitioners anywhere. When Brian speaks, I listen.

“Overall, all we have ever really done is tinker superficially with crime prevention. As a consequence most of our crime prevention efforts are now on a pile of abandoned and untested criminal justice fads.”

How true that is. And how sad. Collective amnesia! We must learn this lesson and look elsewhere for a better future.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Baltimore trailblazer (Part 2)

Baltimore tot lot in need of community/city attention
by Kallan Lyons

Kallan is a journalist who has blogged for Journalists for Human Rights and has contributed to the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper. In 2013 she spent 6 months as media trainer in Ghana at the African College of Communications. She wrote this guest blog after attending the last part of the Baltimore SafeGrowth course.
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“I had an overall instinctual sense that I was not safe.” 
Community member who uses the Tot Lot,
Pigtown, Baltimore

When the SafeGrowth Tot Lot team in Baltimore met Edith Nelson, they knew they had found an ally.

Tasked with transforming the park in Pigtown into a safe space for families, they consulted with Ms. Nelson. As reported in the last blog, A Baltimore trailblazer - Part 1, Ms. Edith has played an integral part in the process.

Now with her support, the team plans to clean up the lot and capitalize on community partnerships in an effort to decrease criminal behavior in the area. The team brought new energy to the project with representatives from the community, the Mayor’s Office, and the police.

STEPS FOR CHANGE

Here are just a couple of the recommendations put forward by the Safegrowth team members who are determined to build on the foundation laid by Ms. Nelson.


Perfect location for movie-night screen or possibly community murals

Throughout the Baltimore SafeGrowth training, the team addressed potential factors inhibiting locals from using the space. Surrounding the park are several abandoned homes and a liquor store; in addition, the tot lot is poorly lit in the evenings. Instead of people gathering in the park for block parties and barbecues, frequent activities include drug use and drinking.

While Ms. Nelson often peruses the park for trash, picking up empty bottles and other items left behind, the job is becoming too big for just one person.

That’s where the SafeGrowth team stepped in. The team’s vision includes volunteer clean-up crews and regular outdoor programs led by community groups. They plan to contact owners of abandoned homes to negotiate improvements. Other strategies included:

  • building social connections by contacting the nearby school and church to involve them in activities such as mural painting
  • increased police attention to the tot lot
  • community events such as movies-in-the-park to build social cohesion
  • better signage, installing LED lighting, reinstalling benches and adding play equipment.

Prior installation of tot lot equipment needs regular community support and city maintenance 
The goal is to restore the Tot Lot to its original use:  a welcoming, family-oriented environment where parents and their children feel safe.  Now that the wheels are in motion, and with Ms. Nelson on their side, a possibility is being turned into a promise.

The Tot Lot transformation started with one woman, and thanks to the SafeGrowth team, it will resume with the community.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ms. Edith and the tot lot - a Baltimore trailblazer (Part 1)

Tot lot in Pigtown - All photos by the Archer/Carroll Street SafeGrowth Team
By Kallan Lyons 

Kallan is a journalist who has blogged for Journalists for Human Rights and has contributed to the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper. In 2013 she spent 6 months as media trainer in Ghana at the African College of Communications. She wrote this guest blog after attending the last part of the Baltimore SafeGrowth course.

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At the corner of Carroll and Archer Streets in Southwest Baltimore sits the Pigtown Tot Lot, a park complete with a playground and plenty of space for a community gathering. This Tot Lot was one of four projects chosen by one of the community problem-solving teams during the latest Baltimore SafeGrowth course (another project appeared in this blog earlier).

The brightly colored jungle gym is surrounded by an iridescent wall, and would never allude to the ominous ambiance: just under a year ago, four people were injured in a shootout next to the park. To many, the Tot Lot is anything but inviting.

Sidewalk conditions around the tot lot
Nicknamed ‘Charm City’, Baltimore’s beautiful row houses, Inner Harbor, and historical attractions have been overshadowed by its drug culture and rampant crime. The city of just over 600,000 has one of the highest homicide rates in the United States. Abandoned homes, poor neighborhood lighting, and a lack of community spaces are just a few of the contributing factors. In Pigtown, kids who grew up playing at the Tot Lot have gone on to become drug dealers on the park corner.

When you hear Baltimore, you may think of Freddie Gray or even the fictitious Omar Little from The Wire. One name you likely haven’t heard is Edith Nelson. Affectionately referred to by her community as Ms. Edith, the 76-year-old has lived in Pigtown since 1989, across the street from the Tot Lot. When she moved in, the park was nothing but weeds.

“For me, it was an eyesore,” says Ms. Nelson. “From that very day [that I moved in] I said I will not live here all my life and see an eyesore like this. That’s when I began to work on the playground, on the Pigtown Tot Lot.”

MAKING A DIFFERENCE 

In Pigtown, people came together to make a difference. Ms. Nelson began by collecting money door-to-door, selling pies and cupcakes at the local Credit Union, and calling on anyone she could to help with the project. She and her small group of supporters successfully raised the $15,000 required to redesign the space. Inspired by her enthusiasm, people latched on to her vision, first through financial contributions, then by coming out to plant trees, paint the playground and rejuvenate the park.

“I have albums from the very day that it happened and we had lots of children that really came out: we had a wheelbarrow and wood chips; our playground was wood - now it’s metal. We had a lot of people getting together back then.” Young and old gathered to reclaim their neighborhood and in the process, rediscovered their community.

Nearby housing in Baltimore's Pigtown
Decades later, as neighbors moved away, many of those early successes lost momentum and crime returned. But despite recent events, her contributions are still standing strong and that is what the SafeGrowth team could see. Ms. Nelson has remained the trailblazer: with the help of a local organization Paul’s Place, her community renamed one of the streets Edith Way.

Ms. Nelson says although there are fewer children around, she and several others continue to clean up the area, hauling dirt and planting flowers, and holding an annual cookout that’s free to anyone in the neighborhood.

The SafeGrowth team asked Ms. Nelson to attend their presentation at the course workshop. They knew her commitment is a reminder of the importance of building community. Though there have been some setbacks, she feels doing so is about volunteerism, friendship, and people working together to accomplish a purpose.

Colorful statement at Carroll/Archer street
If there is such thing as having a purpose in life, I believe Ms. Nelson has found one. Her kids have moved to other neighborhoods, but she says she’s not going anywhere.

“When I bought this house and moved into this community, despite all I saw, I still loved it and said I will live here forever. The Tot Lot has been my project, and as long as I am alive, and I have strength, I will never ever see it go back to where it was.”

Next Blog: The Tot Lot’s transformation started with Ms. Nelson. In part 2 - How the SafeGrowth team plans to move that forward. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The longevity economy and age-friendly cities - California AARP and SafeGrowth

Pasadena, the site of this week's AARP California conference on
Age-friendly communities

by Greg Saville

The New Orlean’s Hollygrove Livable Communities and SafeGrowth Project is now an award-winning success story about turning a troubled neighborhood back from the brink of crime. Starting in 2007 it was a collaboration of AARP Louisiana, Trinity Christian Community and Hollygrove Neighbors headed by Nancy McPherson and Jason Tudor at AARP. 

The AARP website describes how they launched the initiative through nuts-and-bolts teamwork, SafeGrowth technical assistance, and residents themselves who took a lead role. 

This week Jason Tudor and I introduced SafeGrowth to the California AARP community, having run a SafeGrowth Summit in Sacramento last year. The setting was the city of Pasadena at the AARP California conference "On the road to Age-friendly communities". 

Like all modern cities, in Pasadena cars dominate the street. Conference participants examined how age-friendly means walkability and safety
Pasadena is a smaller city in the Los Angeles metro area and it was the ideal setting for new ideas about the age-friendly city in the 21st Century, particularly in regards to safety and crime. With over $85 Billion spent yearly on age-friendly initiatives, and over $1 Trillion contributed to the U.S. by the ‘longevity economy’, clearly, crime and safety must be integral for planning cities of the future.