Urban Fold

Driving out one Nuisance With Another

The American Society of Landscape Architects examines the implications of squeezing teens out of the public sphere.

As Planetizen has posted previously, safety officials across the country have discovered that broadcasting the sounds of Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven over a PA system offers a cheap, creative solution to deter crime and keep irksome teenagers from loitering in public spaces.

In this piece, the ASLA points out the growing practice raises some tough questions about the design and intended purpose of public spaces. One metro station in Washington, D.C. recently replaced a similar system, which emitted a high-pitched noise audible only to young people. The so-called "mosquito" device was dismantled over criticism that it indiscriminately distressed young people, many of whom were "not out to cause trouble."

Eric Fidler of Greater Greater Washington makes the case that the issue runs deeper than delinquent teens: "Before the age of suburban development and private shopping malls, cities always included grand public spaces for relaxation and socializing."

In the absence of such publicly-minded planning, officials must resort to tactics of questionable long-term efficacy. Portland Assistant City Commissioner Denis Crespo has argued that "as a crime reductions strategy, it may work for a short period of time, but the criminals always adapt to police strategies."

Full Story: Shoo! Teenagers, Shoo!

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