New research shows areas with a heavy concentration of commercial offices experience 40 percent higher crime rates than neighborhoods that mix residential and commercial uses.
According to an article by Kaley Overstreet in Arch Daily, “mixed-use spaces do more than just create a diverse array of experiences in cities- they might also help contribute to lower crime rates.” Mixed-Use neighborhoods, writes Overstreet, “enhance social connections and promote public transportation, while also encouraging the themes of ‘live, work, and play’ in one concentrated zone.”
According to Overstreet, “In a study published under the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, data showed that it’s more likely that neighborhoods with local cafes, bars, offices, and residential areas are inherently more likely to have more ‘eyes on the street’ at more hours of the day. The collective public surveillance may deter criminals.” In the same study, “The areas where commercial offices were heavily focused experienced over 40% more crime than in other neighborhoods, especially those that included residences.”
The research concluded that it makes sense that residents may feel a greater sense of ownership for the neighborhoods where they live versus neighborhoods where they solely work, and when those two have some sort of overlap, people still feel protective of the bars, restaurants, and stores that they consider to be in their neighborhood.
Overstreet points out that “What this tells urban planners and architects is that zoning laws may be a contributing factor and an important tool for helping prevent crime in cities.”
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