Australian Cities Seek Out Design Solutions to Drunken Street Brawling

Faced with the calamity of drunken fisticuffs breaking out when the bars let out for the night, Sydney launched some common sense solutions to calm the hordes of angry drunks.
January 18, 2016, 7am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Writing in The Conversation, Kees Dorst of the Designing Out Crime Research Centre in Sydney, reports on how that city has used design and programming solutions in its urban areas to de-escalate potentially deadly situations when the bars of the city let out for the night. Dorst suggests two primary tactics: distraction and extraction. Essentially, offer alternative activities for bar patrons to give them something to do once they leave the bar and then get them out of the area safely and quickly.

…the researchers suggested softer outdoor lighting and, on weekend evenings, closing a main street in [Sydney’s Kings Cross neighborhood] to allow patrons to walk on the road and alleviate footpath congestion. We suggested food stalls along this street, new sitting areas and outdoor entertainment in the form of street performers and interactive games. The idea was to promote a process of “unconscious sobering”.

To get people out of the area, night bus service was improved and waiting areas with charging stations for phones were provided, giving people another place to wait for a safe ride home.  

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Published on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 in The Conversation
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