SOtS posted an interesting nugget from the LAPD's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design pamphlet: the increased "natural surveillance" and eyes-on-the-street that mixed-use developments generate are in the interest of public safety. SOtS post here, LAPD pamphlet here. (pdf)
I've written here and here about why the need for better suburbs is not merely a matter of taste, and this pamphlet add another dimension: safety. Even though the LAPD pdf could use a little graphic design assistance, it's got some pointed pointers:
- Provide clear border definition of controlled space (e.g., fences, hedges, paving patterns and low walls). Avoid unassigned space. As much as possible, all space should become the clear responsibility of someone.
- Place activities in locations to overcome vulnerability of these activities with natural surveillance and access control of the safe area. For instance, common toilet facilities and laundry rooms should not be located in a remote corner of the site or at the end of a long nameless hallway. Locate these facilities (unsafe) adjacent to the entry or location where there is normally high foot traffic (safe).
Though these warnings are useful for planners of suburban spaces (all spaces, really), I think their most urgent applications are found where someone tried to insert suburban/garden city style planning (lots of ambiguous space) into high density, high poverty urban settings. Worst mix.