Did the Built Environment Contribute to the Trayvon Martin Tragedy?
The recent killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by an armed neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida has become a nationwide news story over the past week. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and has yet to be arrested, which has sparked outrage in cities across the country, and online.
Robert Steuteville sees a reason why he believes planners should be taking notice of the case - the role that "a poorly planned, exclusionary built environment" has played in causing the tragedy.
Steuteville describes the community in which the killing took place - the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a 260-unit gated development of townhouses - and points out the reasons why its auto-oriented layout and context makes pedestrians the object of "pity or suspicion."
For Steuteville, "Martin was killed for being a young black male on foot, foolish enough to walk in an inhospitable environment to the convenience store for a sugar fix...In all of this agitation, the physical environment that discriminates against, and focuses suspicion on, anyone who doesn't drive should not be forgotten."
Thanks to Robert Steuteville