Yesterday TSW hosted an all day training conference on CPTED, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. It is an age old technique that gives the specific design of a place importance as it relates to physical crime. Within new urbanist circles a prominent hero who most eloquently championed this idea is Jane Jacobs in her seminal work Death and Life of Great American Cities. The technique goes by many names,defensible spacesor eyes on the street but CPTED is probably the most appropriate term although any acronym sounded out always seems a bit goofy. At TSW, CPTED is a welcome and discussed topic, melding well with our urban designs. At the root of it, it elevates design and gives good design even more prominence and weight which is never a bad thing.
The training yesterday was interestingly focused on one particular building type, the public middle school. The training was organized by our friend von Nkosi and conducted by his associates Stan and Sherry Carter. After almost a decade of discussion and various smaller efforts with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this team is now ready to gather data to assess the hypothesis that poorly designed schools do contribute to increased levels of criminal behavior. Thirteen attending architects from various firms in Atlanta took the day to learn how to assess middle schools as it relates to CPTED principles. We are looking forward to further work on this subject and our subsequent on-site training and data collection at the beginning of the next school year.