WHAT MAKES A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY?
Some of the key requirements of sustainable communities are:
- A flourishing local economy to provide jobs and wealth
- Strong leadership to respond positively to change
- Effective engagement and participation by local people, groups, and businesses, especially in the planning, design and long-term stewardship of their community, and an active voluntary and community sector
- A safe and healthy local environment with well-designed public and green space
- Sufficient size, scale and density, and the right layout to support basic amenities in the neighbourhood and minimize use of resources (including land).
- Good public transit and other transport infrastructure both within the community and linking it to urban, rural, and regional centres
- Buildings — both individually and collectively — that can meet different needs over time, and that minimize the use of resources
- A well-integrated mix of decent homes of different types and tenures to support a range of household sizes, ages, and incomes.
In summary a sustainable community can be described as having good quality local public services, including education and training opportunities, health care and community facilities, especially for leisure; A diverse, vibrant, and creative local culture, encouraging pride in the community and cohesion within it; A ‘sense of place’; The right links with the wider regional, national, and international community.
What are crime reduction, crime prevention and community safety?
- Crime reduction is simply any action to reduce the frequency and seriousness of criminal events.
- Most crime reduction (and certainly that which acts through the planning process) is delivered through crime prevention.
- Crime Prevention in turn is intervention in the causes of criminal events, to reduce the risk of their occurrence and their potential seriousness.
- Community safety is an aspect of the quality of life, in which people, individually and collectively, are sufficiently free from or reassured about a range of real and perceived risks centering on crime and related misbehaviour; are able to cope with the consequences of those incidents that they experience; and if unable to cope alone, are helped to do so. All this establishes the conditions for them to pursue the necessities of their cultural, social, and economic life.
Safety and security are essential to successful, sustainable communities. Not only are such places well-designed, attractive environments to live and work in, but they are also places where freedom from crime, and from the fear of crime, improves the quality of life. Yet, for far too long, too little attention has been paid by planners and designers to crime issues. As a result, and historically, there are far too many examples of poor-quality development that has resulted in a costly and long-lasting heritage of the wrong kind. That has changed more recently as public service embraces the principles of CPTED and designing out crime.
The planning system should play a key role in delivering sustainable communities. This article is a prompt for all professionals to think about how the principles of crime prevention might apply in each and every town and city.
Underpinning this article is the contribution which good quality design can make to creating places where people want to live, work, and enjoy themselves in the knowledge that they can do so safely. Whether through new development or the regeneration of an existing area, the thorough consideration of design principles can help improve an area’s security — for both people and property — whilst also enhancing the quality of the local environment. It need not cost more either, and proper investment in the design of a development brings numerous social and economic benefits over its lifetime.
This guide challenges developers, designers and all those who influence the design and layout of developments, to think in a holistic manner about each development. A key principle is that there is no universal solution to every problem. Each location is unique, and so what works in one place may not work in another. It is therefore important that the many professional disciplines work closely together and, when they do, that they pay close attention to the principles and practical details and apply these carefully to meet the needs of the local area.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for using experts on crime prevention, specialist urban designers and other skilled professionals. It is about encouraging greater attention to the principles of crime prevention and to the attributes of safer places. In this sense it is intended as a starting point — as best practice evolves, and local conditions change, planners will always need to build in new local solutions. Public spaces are a barometer of a community. As human beings we respond positively and instinctively to places that are welcoming. Signals Crime Perspective. We want to spend time – and money – in such a community. But all too often, we experience places that are unwelcoming, unkempt and difficult – or even dangerous – to use.
- The first challenge is inherent in the very concept of public space – it is not a single definable public service; it has a far more complex pattern, with many owners, tenants, and users. It requires many different management arrangements, service providers and agencies, involving the public, private and voluntary sectors. Responsibility for public realm policy is spread across central government departments and agencies. Although the public generally identifies local authorities as responsible for managing and maintaining public spaces, there is also a fragmented system of ownership, statutory roles, and management responsibilities at the local level. One consequence of this fragmentation is that public space issues are seldom looked at as a whole. Even when new public spaces are created the long-term maintenance issues involved are frequently overlooked.
- The second challenge is symptomatic of the dynamic way in which public space develops and changes – creeping degradation. All public spaces, however well-designed initially, are prey to the simple carelessness of users, the indifference of some service providers, the misguided embellishments of others and the ravages of time. Add to this poor maintenance, neglect or, worse still, ill-conceived intervention and today’s award-winning schemes can easily turn into tomorrow’s neglected and rundown areas. A streetscape can be compromised by poor air quality, noise, and traffic, by inappropriate restoration of a pavement or simply by indifference and carelessness but the cumulative effect is a local environment that is threatening, unwelcoming, or even hostile.
- The third challenge is to improve the quality of public spaces in disadvantaged neighborhood’s and ensure that people are not excluded from enjoying the benefits of high-quality local environments. In the past, tackling such issues in deprived areas has all too often resulted in short-term, unsustainable investment in patched-up solutions rather than dealing with the underlying problem. The key to sustainable improvements in deprived areas is ensuring that mainstream providers offer decent standards of service provision – in environmental services, in policing, in local transport and other relevant areas. Additional or one-off interventions can kick-start progress, but only main services can improve things in the longer term.
- The final challenge is to respond to changing circumstances whilst ensuring the continued provision and maintenance of high-quality public spaces for all. Today, we face changing demands in the housing market – whether it is for new communities or lowering demand in challenged communities. The requirements of pedestrians, transit users and drivers are also changing and need to be balanced. We need to retain people who move out of towns and cities in search of ‘nature’, ‘greenery’ ‘clean air’. We also need to tackle the growing fears, real or imagined, of young people, women, older people, and people from culturally diverse communities about their safety.
But if there are challenges to be overcome, there is also inspiration to be gained from programs and schemes all over the country which are addressing these issues in innovative and exciting ways. There is no blueprint for success – different solutions suit different areas.
For more insight contact Mike Franklin Vice President Risk Management & Community Safety on 778 240 1404