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Rethinking Architecture to Evade Violence

Turkey Architecture News - Apr 3, 2015 - 09:35   2979 views

Khayelitsha township, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Attempts to make “social improvements” by altering the physical structures of a community don’t always end well. A few years ago, the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire inspired a multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul Mumbai mega-slum Dharavi, the film’s setting. The revamp derailed when local residents complained that removing their homes and informal businesses was unjust. Thirty years ago in America, “broken windows theory” targeted crime reduction through crackdowns on graffiti, vandalism and other minor crimes. The concept is now linked to stop-and-frisk policing in U.S. cities, implicated in discrimination against people of color and community distrust of police.

Alastair Graham hopes Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, an initiative of the government of Cape Town, South Africa, will end better. He calls the effort, which has been revamping areas around train stations since 2006, part of “a package of potential solutions … either improving safety, or improving socioeconomic situation, or improving quality of life.” The project is aimed at curbing violence by augmenting the public spaces in which violent crime frequently occurs — turning those spaces into places informal workers can conduct business......Continue Reading

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