Editorial by Ares Kalandides
Dedicated to the memory of Prof Clara Cardia
Crime prevention is increasingly to be found at the top of the place management agenda and it is now generally accepted that good places are also safe places. Of course, crime prevention is about more things than just places: it is about people and agency, about poverty and inequality, about weakness and strength, about moral values and social norms among many things. Yet, it is also recognized that place is a fundamental category when we want to look at the conditions or the local situation that facilitates the act of crime. For place managers, crime or indeed the fear of crime, have been constant issues in dealing with the quality of places and in particular, but not only, public places. How do we make public space safer and also, how do we make people feel safer in public space? Crime Prevention through Urban Design Planning and Management (CP-UDPM) puts place in the centre of the approach and looks at the conditions that make crime possible locally and induce a fear of crime: a badly-lit alley, an abandoned subway, indifferent neighbours etc. The concept of crime has been extended to include incivilities such as litter and vandalism – seen both as a problem in themselves, but also as a sign of abandoned and unsafe public space. We do not want to enter the discussion of definitions here, but suffice to say that both crime and incivilities are contested terms, seen both as socially constructed and contingent.
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The most common answer to crime is surveillance: CCTV cameras and security guards are proliferating – with dubious results and dangerous side-effects. Crime Prevention through Urban Design Planning and Management looks at alternatives to this type of surveillance and offers a set of instruments to place makers and place managers in order to help them tackle crime/fear of crime. In this volume we have collected several papers that look at such alternatives from different angles and in various contexts:
We open the special issue with a paper by Herbert Schubert who examines 50 years of development and the different concepts around CP-UDPM. Schubert helps create a theoretical framework for the remaining volume and closes with recommendations for a multi-level approach to the issue. This text constitutes an excellent introduction for everybody approaching the subject for the first time, but also a very useful summary for those more familiar with it.
Sarah Chiodi examines how these theories have been operationalised in European public policy, in particular the development of a European planning standard for Crime Prevention through Urban Design, Planning and Management. Chiodi also looks at the adoption (or not) of the European policy recommendations by nation states. By looking at the Italian case she uncovers the challenges of translating European norms into national policy.
Caroline Davey and Andrew Wootton offer a different perspective on public policy: Starting from the methods and procedures developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Working Group on “Crime Prevention through Urban Planning and Building Design they examine the UK and the State of Lower Saxony in Germany. Wootton and Davey propose a “Crime Prevention Capability Maturity Model’” as a tool that can inform planning and design processes.
Saraiva et al. examine how CP-UDPM has informed public policy in two peripheral European countries, Portugal and Lithuania. They propose a comparative study of local partnerships – one of the major concerns of Place Managers – in the two cases, they look at challenges in cooperation and coordination and finally make a number of recommendations on how partnerships can and should work.
The first of the three planning case studies is by Melinda Benko, and Tibor Germán who looks at place-making and the interventions in two public squares in Budapest’s historic centre. She concludes, that although both squares have indeed become safer through design, there is still a need to include CP-UDPM principles into the planning profession.
Grabski et al. have conducted research in the high-rise neighbourhood of Widzew in Lodz (Poland), a situation particularly relevant to the country as almost half of the population lives in such buildings. The authors look at the quality of life in the area under the particular angle of the sense of safety and make some recommendations for design interventions.
Van Soomeren et al. also examine high-rise areas, looking at successful interventions in western Europe: Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam and Bellvitge in Barcelona. Taking CIAM’s Charter of Athens (1933) as a point of departure, they critically assess the legacy of modernist urban planning in the quality of public spaces. They show how contemporary interventions question, some times complement, but more often partly reverse modernist recommendations.
For almost 20 years now the Politecnico di Milano in Italy has been at the forefront of CP-UDPM research in Europe. Initiated and supported by a partnership between Politenico and the Milan municipality, Professor Clara Cardia established a research centre to study areas of the city where citizens felt unsafe. Laboratorio Qualita Urban e Sicurezza (LabQUS) pursued the expressed aim of improving safety and quality of urban living. Trained in architecture, Professor Cardia was inspired by her work with Oscar Newman in the United States—one of the founders and thought leaders of the CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) approach. The partnership between LabQUS and the Milan municipality was established in 1997, and was triggered by EU funding for regeneration projects in the city. The municipality’s interest in safety and security stemmed from citizens’ concerns about insecurity, incivilities and crime.
The approach adopted by LabQUS drew on the work of Jane Jacobs, who argued that a street’s dense volume of human users deters most violent crimes—or at least provides ‘first responders’ to deter disorderly behaviour. LabQUS research projects have addressed a wide range of aims, including to improve the social and commercial vitality of an area and to increase connectivity. Fifteen factors linked to perceived safety and actual crime risk were identified by researchers including: land use; the structure of the urban environment; the layout, form, design and use of building and spaces that face onto the streets; the lighting of streets and public areas; the use of public space, both during the day and night; the movement or flow of people and vehicles; design, frequency and use of the public transport – and a lot more.
Sadly, Professor Clara Cardia, who would have been the co-editor of this volume, died in June 2015. We want to dedicate this special issue to her memory and to the invaluable contribution she made to the profession of urban planning.