At an ICA CPTED conference last year in Mexico City I introduced a paper from the SENSEable City Lab at the famed MIT sent to me just before the conference. It was fascinating. Published through the UN, it is titled; New Energy for Urban Security: Improving Urban Security Through Green Environmental Design.
As both a thought piece and a white paper, New Energy is a curious read, especially their ideas for a 3rd Generation CPTED.
To some CPTED traditionalists 3rd Generation CPTED will be heresy! When Gerry Cleveland and I introduced 2nd Generation CPTED in 1997, with its focus on neighborhood social dynamics, we too were met by gasps or yawns.
"No, no…" gasped those incredulous with what they saw as the imponderable, "That's not CPTED! CPTED is only about physical modifications for reducing crime opportunity."
Yawned others, "We've been doing that all along," (in spite of a lack of data recording where and no published training details whatsoever on how).
REMEMBERING THE TITANS
Ever so gently (okay, maybe not so gently at times) we reminded them of the original writings of CPTED, laden with concepts like communities of interest and neighborliness and written by pioneers like Jacobs, Newman, Jeffery, Angel, Wood, and Gardiner. The naysayers parked their gasps and yawns and retreated to the comfort of their target hardened forts to snipe from the ramparts (I admit some bias in this affair).
Dare I say that 2nd Generation CPTED nowadays is a staple in training and practice? (Even if some trainers still mistakenly believe it's just a fancy name for activity support.) Thus is the nature of theory growth!
Now we approach another watershed.
The MIT folks propose integrating eco-sensibilities into CPTED with what they call 3rd Generation CPTED. The gist of their aim is to activate public dead spaces so they are more defensible, but doing so using green technology. "A green and digitally enhanced environmental design that addresses the concerns of cities."
Can't argue with that.
But is that really CPTED (gasp)? Aren't advanced designers already doing that (yawn)? Consider the eco-designs of Portland's City Repair program, founded by the keynote speaker at next week's ICA CPTED conference in Calgary.
Fearful of becoming my own nemesis, I read New Energy with gusto and discovered it was refreshing and exciting. Perhaps having a name for all this work isn't such a bad thing.
ECO HIGH TECH SOLUTIONS
The coolest parts in the report are the eco-high-tech solutions: multi-functional and eco-friendly urban furniture that is crime safe; interactive urban art in public spaces to improve perceptions of safety (recall examples from Milan and Minneapolis I posted a few months ago).
Pretty cool stuff. My favorite? Wireless networks across the city made available on street furniture. Imagine video-based, touch screens on transit stops (see photo above) with real-time information on alternate routes during delays or Google Earth safe alternate routes home.
A bit Bladerunner-like…but still, pretty cool.