By Mateja Mihinjac
Recent developments in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana resonate with ideas similar to Smart Growth, an urban planning method promoting human-scale design, ecological sustainability, sense of place, and opportunities for community engagement.
These ideas fit into a new theory now emerging as a Third Generation CPTED.
Ljubljana’s story begins with worsening climate conditions prompting numerous European countries to improve sustainability and the environment. In 2016 Ljubljana was awarded the prestigious title of a European Green Capital for its environmental sustainability work.
Ljubljana has undergone a major transformation in its city centre in the past decade. Changes include an ecological zone where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is now prioritized over motor vehicles. The city is committed to its zerowaste management program, expansion of green spaces, reduction in noise pollution and an increase in air quality.
As the public realm greens and becomes more attractive, satisfaction with the image of the city and its environmental conditions reflect the municipality’s commitment to a green agenda.
CPTED pioneers Jane Jacobs and Oscar Newman often cited famous urban planner Kevin Lynch who wrote Image of the City in 1960 and said the imagability of a city - the quality of the physical environment - evokes feelings that make a place interesting and “invites the eye and ear to greater attention and participation”. In SafeGrowth we argue that also makes it safe.
This is how sustainable environmental urban design leads to a Third Generation CPTED and how it can contribute to safety.
Accordingly, Eurostat surveys on Ljubljana showed the levels of satisfaction with public spaces, availability of green spaces and cleanliness increased since 2009 to nearly 90% satisfaction levels in 2015. Accompanying the green evolution is an improved quality of life.
Ljubljana’s focus on the city’s sustainable development created multiple activity nodes with opportunities for social interaction. Over 90% of the residents have consistently felt safe and trust in others in the city centre has increased from 57% in 2009 to 65% in 2015. Ljubljana also jumped to top 10 most livable EU capitals.
Ljubljana’s public realm achieves both First and Second Generation CPTED goals through increased social interaction and a higher sense of safety. In this case, much of that safety arises through integrating these CPTED components through sustainable technologies and green spaces. That is how a Third Generation CPTED might function in the future.
If Ljubljana successfully expands their green transformation of public spaces to the whole city, they may begin to realize a truly livable and socially cohesive city as advanced in its 2025 vision.
SafeGrowth® is a philosophy and theory of neighborhood safety planning for 21st Century.