LAUNCHING SAFEGROWTH IN EUROPE - REFLECTIONS FROM HELSINGBORG'S H22 SMART CITY EXPO by Mateja Mihinjac & Gregory SavilleRead Now
Swedish promotional video on SafeGrowth for the H22 Smart City Expo - music video courtesy of MOOSGH
by Mateja Mihinjac & Gregory Saville
The H22 Smart City Expo in Helsingborg, Sweden is approaching its final days. What a month it has been for the two of us and the SafeGrowth neighbourhood team on the ground!
This is the first-ever demonstration of the SafeGrowth neighbourhood safety planning system in Europe and the H22 Smart City Expo is a month-long, international demonstration of all things futuristic, promising, and technological for cities in the future. Helsingborg is the host of the H22 Expo and the neighbourhood of Drottninghög has been the site of SafeGrowth community work for the past year.
In the first week, we held a series of safety audit workshops in Drottninghög where residents have been implementing parts of the SafeGrowth model. We hosted professional visitors from municipalities across Europe wanting to learn more about SafeGrowth and its methods. We demonstrated our safety audit process and technology using a mobile app to collect perception of safety data during night walking audits that communities can use for subsequent safety-based community work.
THE NIGHT SAFETY AUDITS
We also facilitated a night-time safety audit with a large group of 40 attendees from the Urban Future Conference, which was a welcome challenge. We divided participants into several small groups to demonstrate the method. It was necessary for us to keep our participants until after darkness, which mean that the audit could not effectively start until 22:30 when it finally got dark enough to observe the nighttime environment!
We were delighted to see they stayed late into the evening and enthusiastically engaged in the exercise. It was satisfying to hear such positive comments from the participants afterwards.
Our second highlight included two different H22 talks and Urban Future Conference presentations when we introduced SafeGrowth to industry partners. Both presentations included a brief overview of SafeGrowth and its initial stages of implementation in Drottninghög with Greg Saville, Mateja Mihinjac and Iman Abbas. The sessions included interactive discussions with the audience as they investigated how to adopt this in their own cities across Sweden and Europe.
We were fortunate to invite an outstanding group of panelists of our key stakeholders to the Urban Future Conference session. They included members of our neighbourhood team:
This panel shared their own personal insights into their experience with the SafeGrowth method over the past year, its potential, challenges during their work on the ground, and the future outlook.
THE LOCAL TEAM
One of the most crucial roles in the entire SafeGrowth experience at the H22 Expo was the role of the SafeGrowth team under the guidance of the city’s coordinators Iman Abbas and Mia Wiklund.
Iman and Mia helped provide direct interaction with attendees and they demonstrated the SafeGrowth method to neighbourhood and city residents, visitors, politicians, professionals, researchers and tourists who wanted to learn about SafeGrowth work underway in Europe for the first time. Iman, Mia and all the local team members continue to spread the message until the very last day of the Expo.
We were delighted with the professionalism and expertise of all our new friends in Drottninghög and we are convinced this is the exact message deserving of a smarter - and safer - city in the future.
We thank the residents and local community of Drottninghög who continue to volunteer their valuable time to make their neighbourhood safer and more liveable. Special thanks go to Iman Abbas and Mia Wiklund who have been working tirelessly while coordinating the neighbourhood team in their SafeGrowth work and planning for the H22 Smart City Expo.
Thank you all!
by Gregory Saville
It is always difficult to know when a good idea in one place is a good idea in another. Some things, like vaccines or mobile phones, transport easily from one culture to another. Covid vaccines from a few countries are now deployed all around the world in all countries and, thankfully, they save billions of lives for those wise enough to take them.
What about neighborhood programs in crime prevention?
Over the past year and a half myself and some of our talented SafeGrowth experts have been working in Helsingborg, Sweden to help residents and officials craft SafeGrowth to their city. It all began two years ago when I delivered a keynote address to the H22 Smart City Expo – a Swedish event to announce their 2022 world exposition of all things futuristic and technological in 21st Century cities.
The Smart City movement is the amalgam of Artificial Intelligence and high technology to all aspects in the operation of city life. My point was that you cannot have a Smart City if you do not have a Safe City.
SafeGrowth training began last year with local neighborhood Engagement Coordinators who, under the on-scene leadership of SafeGrowth expert Mateja Mihinjac, learned the model and began testing it themselves. With the help of our newest SafeGrowth star – Iman Abbas, who is based in Helsingborg – high school students conducted SafeGrowth fear and perception GPS mapping. Then, over the past few months, I worked with Iman and Mateja to train three teams of residents and city officials from the neighborhood of Drottninghög (I’m still practicing my Swedish pronunciation).
This past week the three teams delivered their plans for moving forward to dozens of officials, residents, and students attending their presentations.
What an outstanding event! I was witness to fantastic audience response. I saw broad smiles on the faces of the Drottninghög SafeGrowth graduates as they presented the success of their hard work over the past months.
CO-CREATING SAFE PLACES
Drottninghög now has a number of plans for safety and community engagement in different parts of the neighborhood – some projects involving placemaking around a community garden and others focused on building social cohesion between the immigrant population and Swedish residents.
Their project style included residents working alongside officials and experts. This is appropriate since the H22 Expo theme assigned to Drottninghög is ‘co-creation’ They produced a video describing their co-creation philosophy.
They are now embarking upon months of further planning as they begin to implement their plans. They want to expand their work to more projects in their community and now there is a discussion about expanding their work to other neighborhoods.
HELSINGBORG & THE CPTED CONFERENCE
Next week the Helsingborg SafeGrowth teams will present their preliminary work at the International CPTED Association virtual conference co-sponsored by Helsingborg. Their presentations are viewable to conference participants on Wednesday, Nov 3 at 3:45 PM Swedish time (11:45 AM Eastern Standard Time).
Next year, they will present their results to the world at the H22 Smart City Expo in Helsingborg. Well done to our Helsingborg friends. These are exciting times in Sweden!