L.A. Planners Practice “Defensive Architecture” Against Crime


There is a growing movement in urban sections of Los Angeles to blend public safety with architecture — with some surprising results, says the Los Angeles Times. Last year, officials built a dirt hill at a new state park aimed at shielding a play area from motorists who might commit drive-by shootings. Workers are now building a community center with a community garden on the roof rather than at street level to protect against crime. “If you just build boxes and windows, you’re not going to help,” said City Councilman Ed Reyes, an urban planner who has adopted the safety-by-design strategy to deal with increasingly crowded neighborhoods. He says: “We have to ask questions: Where is the bullet going to come from? What projectile elevation should we adhere to in our development? Where should we situate the trees?”

In a child-care center in a public housing building, apartments surround a large courtyard where parents could watch their children and laundry services on each floor. The apartments are above ground-level, and there are security cameras at all entrances. “It’s done so the kids don’t have to sleep in the bathtub,” Reyes said. “I have parents telling me that they’re resorting to this because they don’t want their child to get hit by a bullet.” Some area planners caution that although “defensive architecture” is sometimes necessary, it is not the ultimate solution to urban problems and should be subtle in its design.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-design26mar26,1,5333716.story

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