While the debate continues unabated on the influence of the physical and land use characteristics of a city on crime, a critical aspect is left out: resident transience. Jacobs took notice and feared its negative influence. Was she right?
The mantra “eyes on the street" focuses on the physical and functional traits of urban fabric but fails to explain the high crime rate of my Jacobsian neighbourhood. Time to reconsider, look for explanations, and exchange mantras for research.
As many wonder whether the nation's multi-decade crime decline will continue, research suggests that community groups and local nonprofits have played a larger role in that story than they're given credit for.
The first study to make an attempt at quantifying the value of "eyes on street"—an idea most eloquently described by Jane Jacobs—offers reason to support a mix of uses, with businesses operating later in the evening.
Chicago's Englewood neighborhood recently saw the opening of a Whole Foods, Starbucks, and other retailers in a bit of a good news, for a neighborhood that's challenged by low employment and high violence.
While a federally-funded network of bike paths is in the works elsewhere in the city, the Major Taylor Trail gets little use from Chicago residents. The main problems are a lack of awareness and the South Side's fearsome reputation.