Thursday, December 13, 2007

Defensible Space Case Study

I found a case study involving Newman's defensible space theory. The case study was of Clason Point, a 400-unit public housing project in New York. Modifications using defensible space theory tactics proved to increase a sense of community identity, and reduced crime. Interviews with residents held before the modifications showed occupants feared the presence of gangs and drug dealers day and night, but felt they had no right to question strangers as a means of anticipating and preventing crime (Newman 67). After the modifications, which consisted of small fences, landscaping, paint and the subdivision of public grounds to the control of individual families, overall crime rate dropped by 54 percent in the first year. Also, the project, which started with a 30 percent vacancy, achieved full occupancy and even a wait list. Additionally, the percentage of people who felt they had the right to question strangers on grounds increased from 27 percent to 50 percent (Newman 77). Through this case study, Newman is able to provide hard evidence of crime reduction through design.

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