U.S.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Policy Development and Research
Creating Defensible Space
Creating Defensible Space
by Oscar Newman
Institute for Community Design Analysis
Contractor:
Center for Urban Policy Research
Rutgers University
Contract No. DU100C000005967
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Policy Development and Research
April 1996
The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
FOREWORD
The appearance of Oscar Newman’s Defensible Space in 1972 signaled the establishment of a new
criminological subdiscipline that has come to be called by many “Crime Prevention Through Envi­
ronmental Design” or CPTED. Over the years, Mr. Newman’s ideas have proven to have such signifi­
cant merit in helping the Nation’s citizens reclaim their urban neighborhoods that we at HUD’s
Office of Policy Development and Research asked him to prepare a casebook to assist public and pri­
vate organizations with the implementation of Defensible Space theory. Information about this pro­
cess is presented for three distinct venues: in an older, small, private urban community; in an existing
public housing community; and in the context of dispersing public housing throughout a small city.
This monograph is very special because it draws directly from Mr. Newman’s experience as a con­
sulting architect. Indeed, we asked the author to share with us both his perspective on creating viable
change and his personal observations on key lessons learned.
By publishing Creating Defensible Space, PD&R is pleased to be part of the continuing growth and
evolution of Defensible Space as both a criminological concept and a proven strategy for enhancing
our Nation’s quality of urban life.
Michael A. Stegman
Assistant Secretary for
Policy Development and Research
iii
CONTENTS
■ ILLUSTRATIONS..................................................................... ix
■ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................ xiii
■ INTRODUCTION ..................................................................... 1
What this book is about and who it is for .......................................................................................... 4
Rationale for selecting the three case studies..................................................................................... 4
Case Study One: The Five Oaks community in Dayton, Ohio .......................................................... 5
Case Study Two: The Clason Point project, South Bronx, New York City ....................................... 5
Case Study Three: Dispersing public housing in Yonkers, New York ............................................... 6
Presentation format............................................................................................................................. 7
■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles ........................................ 9
The concept ........................................................................................................................................ 9
Evolution of the concept..................................................................................................................... 9
The private streets of St. Louis......................................................................................................... 13
The effect of housing form on residents’ ability to control areas .................................................... 14
Summary of the effect of building type on behavior ....................................................................... 17
The effect of building type on residents’ control of streets.............................................................. 18
Social factors and their interaction with the physical ...................................................................... 23
v
Creating Defensible Space
The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups ........................................................................ 27
Factors influencing crime and instability......................................................................................... 28
■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio ............... 31
Initiating the process ........................................................................................................................ 37
Initial presentations to city staff and the community....................................................................... 38
Community participation in designing mini-neighborhoods ........................................................... 43
Traffic studies ................................................................................................................................... 46
Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan.................................................................... 46
The alley problem in Dayton............................................................................................................ 51
Allied measures for stabilizing the community ............................................................................... 51
Evaluation of the modifications ....................................................................................................... 55
Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood concept........................................................... 59
■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment ..................................... 65
Redefinition of grounds ................................................................................................................... 69
Resurfacing of buildings .................................................................................................................. 71
Redevelopment of the central area ................................................................................................... 72
Effectiveness of the modifications ................................................................................................... 74
Learning from experience ................................................................................................................ 78
vi
Table of Contents
■ Chapter IV: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers ........ 81
Design principles.............................................................................................................................. 86
Problems in controlling the design process...................................................................................... 92
Selection of residents ....................................................................................................................... 97
Training of residents ........................................................................................................................ 97
Results .............................................................................................................................................. 99
Evaluation....................................................................................................................................... 101
■ REFERENCES..................................................................... 109
■ Addendum A: Defensible Space Guidelines Used in Yonkers RFP .......... 113
Background..................................................................................................................................... 113
Definitions ..................................................................................................................................... 114
Selection of proposals .................................................................................................................... 115
Zoning ............................................................................................................................................ 115
Design criteria ................................................................................................................................ 115
Selection of proposals .................................................................................................................... 117
Proposal evaluation criteria .......................................................................................................... 118
■ Addendum B: Tenant Training Course ........................................ 121
Tenant relocation ............................................................................................................................ 121
Home maintenance ......................................................................................................................... 121
vii
Creating Defensible Space
Interpersonal relations ............................................................................................................... 122
Safety/security ........................................................................................................................... 122
Community resources ............................................................................................................... 123
viii
ILLUSTRATIONS
■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles
Figure I–1: Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis...................................................................... 10
Figure I–2: The architect’s vision of how the 3d floor communal corridor
in Pruitt-Igoe would be used ....................................................................................... 10
Figure I–3: The actual 3d floor communal corridor of Pruitt-Igoe ............................................... 11
Figure I–4: Vandalism in Pruitt-Igoe ............................................................................................. 11
Figure I–5: Pruitt-Igoe in the process of being torn down............................................................. 12
Figure I–6: Carr Square Village ..................................................................................................... 12
Figure I–7: Graph of increase in crime with building height ........................................................ 13
Figure I–8: Aerial view of typical closed streets in St. Louis ....................................................... 14
Figure I–9: Single-family houses and the nature of spaces ........................................................... 15
Figure I–10: Walkup buildings and the nature of spaces ................................................................. 16
Figure I–11: The elevator highrise and the nature of spaces ........................................................... 17
Figure I–12: A four-city-block row-house development .................................................................. 18
Figure I–13: A four-city-block garden apartment development ...................................................... 19
Figure I–14: A four-city-block highrise development ...................................................................... 20
Figure I–15: A highrise and a walkup built at the same density ...................................................... 21
Figure I–16: Comparison of two walkups subdivided differently ................................................... 22
ix
Creating Defensible Space
Figure I–17: Crime rates by social and physical variables .............................................................. 23
Figure I–18: Variations in crime rate by socioeconomic groups ..................................................... 26
■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
Figure II–1: Map locating Five Oaks and downtown Dayton ........................................................ 31
Figure II–2: Typical street in Five Oaks ......................................................................................... 32
Figure II–3: Deteriorated two-story walkup in Five Oaks ............................................................. 34
Figure II–4: Street in Five Oaks with various building types ........................................................ 34
Figure II–5: Map of Five Oaks’ internal streets and boundaries .................................................... 35
Figure II–6: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of renters ........................................................... 36
Figure II–7: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of African-American renters .................................. 36
Figure II–8: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of vacancies ....................................................... 37
Figure II–9: Greek cross plan for ideal mini-neighborhood .......................................................... 43
Figure II–10: Overly large cul-de-sac layout ................................................................................... 44
Figure II–11: Schematic showing ideal access to mini-neighborhoods........................................... 45
Figure II–12: Mini-neighborhood boundaries of Five Oaks ............................................................ 46
Figure II–13: Mini-neighborhood plan for Five Oaks showing location
of gates and entries into mini-neighborhoods ........................................................... 47
Figure II–14: Hammerhead turn at end of street .............................................................................. 48
Figure II–15: Proposed portal markers for mini-neighborhoods ..................................................... 48
Figure II–16: Actual position of portals as installed ........................................................................ 49
Figure II–17: Proposed gates defining mini-neighborhoods............................................................ 49
x
Illustrations
Figure II–18: Gates as actually installed .......................................................................................... 50
Figure II–19: Gates across the rear alleys ........................................................................................ 51
Figure II–20: Residents making improvements to their homes ....................................................... 54
Figure II–21: Renter and homeowner children playing together ..................................................... 56
■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment
Figure III–1: Clason Point from street before modifications ......................................................... 66
Figure III–2: Interior grounds before modifications ...................................................................... 67
Figure III–3: Composite of fear maps produced by residents........................................................ 68
Figure III–4: Six-foot fencing defines collective rear yards .......................................................... 69
Figure III–5: Collective front yards defined by the new curbing................................................... 69
Figure III–6: Vandalized tiles and mailboxes in a highrise............................................................ 70
Figure III–7: Small play nodes ...................................................................................................... 70
Figure III–8: Wall of sample surfaces ............................................................................................ 71
Figure III–9: The central area before modifications ...................................................................... 72
Figure III–10: Plan for the conversion of the central area ............................................................... 73
Figure III–11: The central area as modified ..................................................................................... 73
Figure III–12: Revised plan of Clason Point .................................................................................... 74
Figure III–13: Internal walk at Clason Point before modifications ................................................. 75
Figure III–14: Internal walk after modifications .............................................................................. 75
Figure III–15: Before and after photographs of Clason Point ......................................................... 76
Figure III–16: Residents’ response to 6-foot fencing....................................................................... 77
xi
Creating Defensible Space
Figure III–17: Play node for young children ................................................................................... 79
Figure III–18: Aerial view of a small portion of Clason Point ........................................................ 79
■ Chapter IV: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers, NY
Figure IV–1: Map showing concentration of public housing ........................................................ 81
Figure IV–2: The School Street project in Yonkers ....................................................................... 82
Figure IV–3: Map locating Yonkers relative to New York City ..................................................... 82
Figure IV–4: Aerial view of east Yonkers ...................................................................................... 83
Figure IV–5: The Schlobohm project in Yonkers ........................................................................... 83
Figure IV–6: The Mulford Gardens project in Yonkers ................................................................. 84
Figure IV–7: Typical site plan for a 12-unit site ............................................................................ 85
Figure IV–8: Typical site plan for a 24-unit site ............................................................................ 86
Figure IV–9: Typical site plan for a 48-unit site ............................................................................ 88
Figure IV–10: Sketch of a group of row-house units ....................................................................... 88
Figure IV–11: Fencing-off of the rear yards in Yonkers .................................................................. 89
Figure IV–12: Typical garbage dumpster serving public housing ................................................... 90
Figure IV–13: Individual garbage cans along the walks .................................................................. 90
Figure IV–14: Completed scattered-site units in Yonkers ................................................................ 92
Figure IV–15: Residents’ initial improvements to front yards ....................................................... 100
Figure IV–16: Residents’ later improvements to front yards ......................................................... 100
Figure IV–17: Residents’ later improvements to rear yards........................................................... 101
xii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Firstly, I wish to thank Henry Cisneros, the Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development, for his personal support and encouragement in having
me prepare these case studies. Early in his administration, he recognized
the importance of our work to housing authorities and cities across the
country and prepared his own essay entitled: Defensible Space, Reducing
Crime and Creating Community. The publication has received wide
acclaim and distribution. He followed this by having me conduct a series
of seminars for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) personnel and his key staff and Assistant Secretaries to explore
how Defensible Space technology could be utilized in various HUD
programs.
Michael Stegman, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development
and Research, initially suggested the idea for the three case studies. He
then had me meet with Margery Turner, Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring and with Dr. Hal Holzman to
define the scope of the work.
Hal Holzman served as HUD’s Project Officer, but more importantly, as
my mentor and muse during the entire writing effort, he encouraged me
to record experiences and speak to issues I would have otherwise hesi­
tated addressing.
In Dayton, Ray Reynolds, the city’s former director of urban develop­
ment (now planning director for the city of Hollywood, California) bore
the full responsibility of seeing the Dayton project through from start to
finish. I describe his role in my discussion of Five Oaks. Suffice it to say,
the project would not have been realized without his efforts. Others who
were germane to the success of the Five Oaks project were: Jaruth
Durham-Jefferson, superintendent of police, who brought me to Dayton
and helped me at every stage; and Patrick Donnelly, Karen DeMasi, and
Bernice Ganble, all residents of the community and professionals in their
own right, who served to coordinate community participation during the
xiii
Creating Defensible Space
planning of the project and provided insights that helped me define the
plan and write the case study.
In Yonkers, Pete Smith, the director of the Yonkers Municipal Housing
Authority, was my second conscience through my entire 8 years of
working there. His role was difficult; as a long-time Yonkers resident,
he knew everyone and identified with their concerns and resistance, but
as executive director of the housing authority, he also identified with
public housing residents and their plight in segregated highrise projects.
He knew that what we were planning would help all public housing resi­
dents and would not be the destabilizing force everyone in the commu­
nity feared. Chief of police Robert Olson (now in Minneapolis) was
helpful in calming the community’s nerves during the process, provided
a police presence when it was needed, and had his men bring the com­
munity and public housing teenagers together when tempers flared.
Clason Point in the Bronx, New York, was our first effort in modifying
public housing projects using the Defensible Space theory. Even though
housing authority management was skeptical, two men took to the idea,
opened doors, and provided insights and assistance that gave access to
data and to sites for experimentation. They were Sam Granville, director
of management, and Bernie Moses, director of maintenance, both now
retired.
Within our offices, Joanna King, who has served as our institute’s
administrator and my trusted editor for 20 years, continued her critical
work in helping me produce this book. Allen Christianson, architect, pre-
pared the final illustrations from my sketches, as he has in my previous
books.
Oscar Newman
Hensonville, New York
April 1996
xiv
Defensible Space Principles
C H A P T E R
ONE
■ The concept
All Defensible Space programs have a common purpose: They restruc­
ture the physical layout of communities to allow residents to control the
areas around their homes. This includes the streets and grounds outside
their buildings and the lobbies and corridors within them. The programs
help people preserve those areas in which they can realize their com­
monly held values and lifestyles.
Defensible Space relies on self-help rather than on government interven­
tion, and so it is not vulnerable to government’s withdrawal of support.
It depends on resident involvement to reduce crime and remove the pres­
ence of criminals. It has the ability to bring people of different incomes
and race together in a mutually beneficial union. For low-income people,
Defensible Space can provide an introduction to the benefits of main-
stream life and an opportunity to see how their own actions can better
the world around them and lead to upward mobility.
Over the past 25 years, our institute has been using Defensible Space
technology to enable residents to take control of their neighborhoods, to
reduce crime, and to stimulate private reinvestment. We have been able
to do this while maintaining racial and economic integration. The pro­
cess has also produced inexpensive ways to create housing for the poor,
often without government assistance. In this chapter, I will briefly
explain the origins and principles of Defensible Space and introduce
the reader to the results of our various research projects.
■ Evolution of the concept: Pruitt-Igoe and Carr Square
Village
The Defensible Space concept evolved about 30 years ago when, as a
teacher at Washington University in St. Louis, I was able to witness the
newly constructed 2,740-unit public housing highrise development,
Pruitt-Igoe, go to ruin. The project was designed by one of the country’s
9
Creating Defensible Space
most eminent architects and
was hailed as the new enlight­
enment. It followed the plan­
ning principles of Le
Corbusier and the Interna­
tional Congress of Modern
Architects. Even though the
density was not very high
(50 units to the acre), residents
were raised into the air in
11-story buildings. The idea
was to keep the grounds and
the first floor free for commu-
Figure I–1:
nity activity. “A river of trees” was to flow under the buildings. Each
Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe,
building was given communal corridors on every third floor to house a
a 2,740-unit public
housing project laundry, a communal room, and a garbage room that contained a garbage
constructed in St. Louis in
chute.
the 1960s.
Occupied by single-parent, welfare families, the design proved a disas­
ter. Because all the grounds were common and disassociated from the
units, residents could not iden­
tify with them. The areas
proved unsafe. The river of
trees soon became a sewer of
glass and garbage. The mail-
boxes on the ground floor were
vandalized. The corridors, lob­
bies, elevators, and stairs were
dangerous places to walk. They
became covered with graffiti
and littered with garbage and
human waste.
The elevators, laundry, and
community rooms were vandal-
Figure I–2:
The architect’s vision of
ized, and garbage was stacked high around the choked garbage chutes.
how the 3d floor communal
Women had to get together in groups to take their children to school and go
corridor in Pruitt-Igoe
shopping. The project never achieved more than 60 percent occupancy. It
would be used.
10
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
was torn down about 10 years
after its construction and be-
came a precursor of what was to
happen elsewhere in the country.
Across the street from Pruitt-
Igoe was an older, smaller, row-
house complex, Carr Square
Village, occupied by an identi­
cal population. It had remained
fully occupied and trouble-free
throughout the construction,
occupancy, and decline of
Pruitt-Igoe. With social vari-
Figure I–3:
ables constant in the two developments, what, I asked, was the signifi- The 3d floor communal
cance of the physical differences that enabled one to survive while the
corridor as it actually
turned out, showing the
other was destroyed?
vandalism that ensued.
Walking through Pruitt-Igoe in
its heyday of pervasive crime
and vandalism, one could only
ask: What kind of people live
here? Excluding the interior
public areas of the development
there were occasional pockets
that were clean, safe, and well-
tended. Where only two fami­
lies shared a landing, it was
clean and well-maintained. If
one could get oneself invited
into an apartment, one found it
neat and well maintained—modestly furnished perhaps, but with great
Figure I–4:
pride. Why such a difference between the interior of the apartment and
Vandalism to the large
number of vacant
the public spaces outside? One could only conclude that residents main-
apartments in Pruitt-Igoe
tained and controlled those areas that were clearly defined as their own. as seen from the outside.
Landings shared by only two families were well maintained, whereas
corridors shared by 20 families, and lobbies, elevators, and stairs shared
by 150 families were a disaster—they evoked no feelings of identity or
control. Such anonymous public spaces made it impossible for even
11
Creating Defensible Space
Figure I–5:
neighboring residents to develop an accord about acceptable behavior in
Pruitt-Igoe in the process
these areas. It was impossible to feel or exert proprietary feelings,
of being torn down, at a
impossible to tell resident from intruder.
loss of $300 million.
Most of us have seen
highrise apartments occu­
pied by middle-income
people that function very
well. Why then do they not
work for low-income fami­
lies? Middle-income apart­
ment buildings have funds
available for doormen, por­
ters, elevator operators, and
resident superintendents to
watch over and maintain the
common public areas, but in
highrise public housing,
there are barely enough
Figure I–6:
Carr Square Village, a row-house development located across the street from Pruitt-Igoe.
12
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
funds for 9-to-5 nonresident mainte­
nance men, let alone for security person­
nel, elevator operators, or porters. Not
surprisingly, therefore, it is within these
interior and exterior common public ar­
eas that most crime in public housing
takes place.
Given that funds for doormen, porters,
and resident superintendents do not
exist for public housing, the question
emerged: Is it possible to design public
housing without any interior public
areas and to have all the grounds
assigned to individual families?
12.7
10.0 16.2
14.5 14.5 12.0
Total
30.0
Total
41.0
Total
68.0
37.3
16.5 5.3
In interior
public spaces
On outside
grounds
Inside
apartments
Walkups
(3 floors)
Midrises
(6–7 floors)
Highrises
(13–30 floors)
Location of Crime in
Walkups and Highrises
■ The private streets of St. Louis
Also in St. Louis, I came upon a series of turn-of-the-century neighbor-
hoods where homes are replicas of the small chateaux of France. They
are the former palaces of St. Louis’ commercial barons—the rail, beef,
and shipping kings. These chateaux are positioned on privately held
streets, closed to through traffic. St. Louis in the mid-1960s was a city
coming apart. The influx of people from the rural areas of the South had
overwhelmed the city. It had one of the Nation’s highest crime rates, but
the private streets appeared to be oblivious to the chaos and abandon­
ment taking place around them. They continued to function as peaceful,
crime-free environments—nice places to rear children, if you could
afford a castle. The residents owned and controlled their own streets,
and although anyone was free to drive or walk them (they had no guard
booths), one knew that one was intruding into a private world and that
one’s actions were under constant observation. Why, I asked, could not
this model be used to stabilize the adjacent working and middle-class
neighborhoods that were undergoing massive decline and abandonment?
Was private ownership the key, or was the operating mechanism the
closing-off of streets and the creation of controlled enclaves? Through
research funded by the National Science Foundation (Newman, Dean, and
Wayno, 1974) we were able to identify the essential ingredients of the pri­
vate streets and provide a model that could be replicated throughout the
Figure I–7:
Graph showing the
relationship between the
increase in crime and
increased building height
and that crime is mostly
located within public areas.
13
Creating Defensible Space
city. This was done in both African-American
and white areas, and its implementation suc­
ceeded in stabilizing communities in transition.
■ The effect of housing form on
residents’ ability to control areas
Over the next few pages I will explain how dif­
ferent building types create spaces outside the
dwelling unit that affect residents’ ability to
control them. Firstly, I should explain what I
mean by the dwelling unit: It is the interior of
an apartment unit or home. That is the case
whether the unit is one among many in a
highrise building or sits by itself on the ground.
I am interested in learning how the grouping
of units in different types of building configura­
tions creates indoor and outdoor “nonunit”
Figure I–8: spaces of different character.
Aerial view of typical closed
streets in St. Louis.
For simplification, I have grouped all buildings into the three categories
that capture the essential differences among them. These three categories
are: single-family houses; walkups; and highrises.
Single-family houses come in three basic types: detached houses; semi-
detached houses; and row houses (row houses are also called
townhouses).
The fully detached building sits by itself, not touching any other build­
ing; the semidetached building has two single-family units sharing a
common wall; and the row-house building has a few single-family units
sharing common walls with other units, one on each side. Although all
three types of single-family buildings look different, they share an essen­
tial common trait: Within the four walls of each type of building is the
private domain of one family. There are no interior spaces that are public
or that do not belong to a family. All the interior spaces, therefore, are
private. Even the row house is subdivided into a series of distinctly pri­
vate spaces. There are no interior spaces within any single-family build­
ing—whether a row house, a semidetached building, or a fully detached
14
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
house—that are shared by more than
one family.
The fundamental difference in the three
types of single-family houses shown is
the density at which they can be built—
which is to say the number of units that
can be put on an acre of land in each of
these configurations. The upward limit
of the detached house is about six units
to the acre. The upward limit of the
semidetached house is eight units to the
acre, but this allows for a driveway to be
put between each unit, something that
could not be achieved in detached units
• All interior spaces are within the private domain of the family.
• All grounds around the private unit are for the private use of the family.
• There is a direct abutment between private grounds and the sidewalk.
• The domain of the house encompasses the street.
at six to the acre. Row houses can be
built at an upward limit of 16 units to the acre if one also wishes to pro-
vide off-street parking on a one-to-one basis.
When one looks at the grounds surrounding these three types of single-
family units, one finds that all the grounds are private because they have
been assigned to each unit. Regardless of which type of single-family
building we examine, each has been designed so that each unit has its
own front and rear yard. The front yard of each unit also immediately
abuts the street. If we attempt to categorize the grounds as either private,
semiprivate, semipublic, or public, we would have to conclude that the
rear yards are certainly private because they belong to individual fami­
lies and are only accessible from the interior of each unit. The front
yards also belong to individual families, but because they are accessible
from the street as well as from the interior of each unit their character is
different. I have classed them as semiprivate because of this difference, but
some people would say that they are really private.
Looking at the next classification of building—the walkup—one finds
that a radical new element has been introduced that totally changes the
character of both the inside and outside of the building. We now have
circulation areas within the building that are common because they are
shared by a few families. The number of families sharing these common
Figure I–9:
Three types of single-family
houses and the nature of
spaces in and around them.
15
Detached house
1 to 10 dUfacre
_private
_ semipubltc
k<>H Publ+<;
• Private space is within the apartment unit only.
• The interior lobby, stairs, and corridor are semiprivate.
• Grounds can be designated for one family but are usually shared by all the families in the building.
• Only a small number of families (three to six) share the interior circulation areas and grounds.
• The street is within the sphere of influence of the dwellings.
Creating Defensible Space
areas depends on how
the entrances, corridors,
and stairs are distributed
within the building.
In figure I–10, the
walkup building is subdi­
vided so that six families
share a common entry
and interior circulation
stair. Two families per
floor share a common
landing. Entrances from
the common staircase
usually exit to the outside
Figure I–10:
Walkup buildings and the
nature of spaces in and
around them.
at both the front and rear.
Such buildings are often called garden apartments.
Walkups can be built at a density of 30 to 40 units per acre if they are
3 stories in height, and at a density of 20 to 30 units to the acre if they
are only 2 stories in height. Three-story walkups were commonly built
in the 1950s and 1960s, but as these are nonelevator buildings, the 3-
story walkup has fallen out of favor with the decline in housing demand.
Because the grounds surrounding 3-story walkups, front and back,
belong to all the families living in the building, they cannot be consid­
ered private. The grounds in the front of the unit are also adjacent to a
public street. For this reason I would categorize the grounds in front as
semipublic space. The grounds at the rear of the unit are also not as-
signed to individual families and the rear of the units are often used for
parking. In such a case, the grounds at the back would also have to be
considered semipublic. It is, however, possible to modify the design of
the rear grounds to make some of the areas private and the remainder
semiprivate, and I will demonstrate how to do that shortly.
We come now to the last of our three building types: the highrise. These
are elevator buildings and commonly come in two sizes, depending on
the type of elevator used. The least expensive elevator is the hydraulic, but
it has an upward limit of six stories. The electric elevator can comfortably
16
_Private ~ Semiprivate
_ Semipublic
I(/<H Public
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
go up to 30 stories, but it is usually
used in 10- to 16-story apartment
buildings.
The 15-story building at the right has
195 families sharing common inte­
rior areas. Because of the large num­
ber of people sharing them, these
interior areas can only be designated
as semipublic or even public. Even
the corridors on each floor are
shared by 13 families and are acces­
sible from 2 sets of stairs and 2
elevators that are very public. For
this reason I would have to designate
• Private space exists only within the apartment units.
• The interior circulation areas and the grounds are public.
• There is no association between buildings and street.
these corridors as semipublic, if not
public.
The outside grounds, because of their disassociation from any of the
individual units, and the fact that they are shared by 195 families, can
only be designated as public.
■ Summary of the effect of building type on behavior
A family’s claim to a territory diminishes proportionally as the number
of families who share that claim increases. The larger the number of
people who share a territory, the less each individual feels rights to it.
Therefore, with only a few families sharing an area, whether it be the
interior circulation areas of a building or the grounds outside, it is relatively
easy for an informal understanding to be reached among the families as to
what constitutes acceptable usage.
When the numbers increase, the opportunity for reaching such an
implicit understanding diminishes to the point that no usage other than
walking through the area is really possible, but any use is permissible.
The larger the number of people who share a communal space, the more
difficult it is for people to identify it as theirs or to feel they have a right
to control or determine the activity taking place within it. It is easier for
outsiders to gain access to and linger in the interior areas of a building
Figure I–11:
The elevator highrise and
the nature of space in and
around it.
17
_private lIB Semiprivate
_ Semipublic
W\j))j Public
Creating Defensible Space
shared by 24 to 100 families than it is in
a building shared by 6 to 12 families.
■ The effect of building type
on residents’ control of streets
If we examine the three building types
from the viewpoint of residents’ ability
to exert control over surrounding streets,
we again find marked differences.
Figures I–12, I–13, and I–14 graphically
summarize the major differences between
residents’ ability to control the areas around
their homes and public streets. The three
illustrations show the same four-block
area of a city, each developed using a
different building type.
Figure I–12:
A four-city-block row-house
development. Only the
central portion of the
roadbed can be considered
fully public.
Figure I–12 is an illustration of a row-
house development built at a density of 18
units to the acre. Each city block has been subdivided so that all the grounds,
except for the streets and sidewalks, are assigned to individual families.
The front lawns, because each belongs to an individual family, are desig­
nated semiprivate. The rear yards, which are fully enclosed, are private.
In fact they are only accessible from the interior of the dwelling units.
The close juxtaposition of each dwelling unit and its entry to the street
contributes to the incorporation of the sidewalk into the sphere of influ­
ence of the inhabitants of the dwelling. This is further reinforced by the
fact that their semiprivate lawn abuts the sidewalk, and the family car is
parked at the curb. Residents’ attitudes suggest that they consider this
sidewalk and parking area as semipublic, rather than public.
Examining the entire four-block area, we find an urban fabric in which
most of the outdoor areas and all of the indoor areas are private. In addi­
tion, a good portion of what is a legally public street is viewed by resi­
dents as an extension of their dwellings and under their sphere of
18
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
influence: that is, the sidewalk and that
portion of the roadbed on which their
cars are parked. Because of the close jux­
taposition of the street to the private front
lawn of each dwelling, residents are con­
cerned about ensuring its safety and act
to maintain and control it. In actual fact,
only the very central portion of each
street is truly public in nature. If the
street were narrow, even the activity in
this central portion would be considered
accountable to neighboring residents.
Figure I–13 shows the same four-block
area, this time accommodating 3-story
garden apartments built at a density of 36
units to the acre. The rear courts within
the interior of each cluster have been as-
signed both to individual families and to
all the families sharing the cluster. The
families living on the ground floor have
been given their own patios within the interior courts, with access to
them from the interior of their unit. These patios are therefore private.
The remainder of the interior court belongs to all the families sharing a clus­
ter and is only accessible from the semiprivate interior circulation space of
each building, making the remainder of the interior cluster semiprivate.
The small front lawn adjacent to each building entry is the collective
area for that entry’s inhabitants and is therefore semiprivate. As in the
row-house scheme in figure I–12, all the entries face the street, but each
entry now serves six families rather than one and is thus semiprivate
rather than private. Parking again is on the street immediately in front of
each dwelling. Because of the semiprivate nature of the grounds, the side-
walk and street are not clear extensions of the realms of individual dwelling
units. But even with all these limitations, the neighboring sidewalk and
parking zone on the street are considered by many residents as areas over
which they exert some control.
Figure I–13:
A four-city-block garden
apartment development.
The streets and grounds are
encompassed within the
domain of the multifamily
dwellings.
19
,
'.
_Semipublie
Creating Defensible Space
Figure I–14 is the same four-block area
shown in figures I–12 and I–13, but now
developed as a highrise superblock at a
density of 50 dwelling units to the acre.
Each building entry serves 50 families by
means of an interior circulation system
consisting of a public lobby, elevators,
fire stairs, and corridors. The grounds
around the buildings are accessible to
everyone and are not assigned to particu­
lar buildings. The residents, as a result, feel
little association with or responsibility for
the grounds and even less association with
the surrounding public streets.
Not only are the streets distant from the
units, but no building entries face them.
The grounds of the development that abut
the sidewalks are also public, and, as a
Figure I–14:
A four-city-block highrise
development. All the streets
and grounds are public.
consequence, so are the sidewalks and
streets. This design succeeds in making
public the entire ground surface of the
four-block area. All the grounds of the project must be maintained by
management and patrolled by a hired security force. The city streets and
sidewalks, in turn, must be maintained by the city sanitation department
and patrolled by city police.
The placement of the highrise towers on the interior grounds has pro­
duced a system of off-street parking and access paths to the building that
involves many turns and blind corners. Residents in such developments
complain about the dangers of walking into the grounds to get to their
buildings at night. The proclivity of landscape designers for positioning
shrubs exactly at turns in the paths increases the hazards of these access
routes. This problem does not arise in traditional row-house or walkup
developments where building entries face the street and are set back
from the sidewalk no more than 10 to 20 feet. Nor do these fears occur
in highrise buildings whose entries face the streets and are only set back
slightly from them. In these latter cases, residents are able to move in a
20
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
straight line from the relative safety of the public street to what they can
observe to be the relative safety of the well lighted lobby area in the
interior of their buildings.
Figure I–15 shows two housing projects located across the street from
one another: a garden apartment complex on the right and a highrise on
the left. Both projects are designed at the same density and with similar
parking provisions (40 units to the acre and 1 parking space per unit).
The highrise project has all building entries facing the interior grounds
of the development. Parking has been designed as a continuous strip
along the street, further disassociating the buildings from the street. The
project on the right is only three stories in height and has all the buildings
and their entries juxtaposed with the city streets or the interior streets and
parking. Each entry faces the street and serves only 6 families, whereas
the highrises have 60 families sharing a common entry. Small play and
sitting areas have been provided near the entry to each walkup. This
Figure I–15:
A highrise and a walkup
built at the same density.
The project on the left is
turned in on itself, away
from the public street,
while the one on the right
brings the streets within
the control of the residents.
21
Creating Defensible Space
serves to extend into the street the
sphere of influence of each of the six
families.
The residents in the walkup are a
very short distance from the sur­
rounding streets, and because of the
positioning of the building entries,
play areas, and parking, the neigh-
boring streets are brought within the
sphere of influence of inhabitants.
Another important lesson to learn
from this comparison is that 2 radi­
cally different building configura-
Figure I–16:
Comparison of two ways to
subdivide the same
building envelope to serve
the same number of
families, but in radically
different ways.
tions can be produced at the same
density: in this case a density of 40
units to the acre with 1-to-1 parking. This is a very high density that will
satisfy the economic demands of high land costs. The walkup develop­
ment achieves the same density as the highrise by covering more of the
grounds (37 percent ground coverage versus 24 percent). Municipalities
that wish to reap the benefits of walkup versus highrise buildings must
learn to be flexible with their floor-area-ratio requirements to assure that
they are not depriving residents of a better housing option in order to get
more open ground space that has little purpose.
What is true for site design is also true for building design: The same build­
ing envelope can be subdivided in different ways to produce dramatically
different results. For instance, figure I–16 shows two ways of configuring a
three-story walkup. Both buildings serve a total of 24 families each. In the
upper layout, all 24 families share 2 common entrances and 8 families share
a common corridor on each floor, although access to the corridors on each
floor is open to all 24 families in the building. In the lower design, only
6 families share a common entry, and only 2 families share a common
landing on each floor.
In the lower design, the smaller number of families sharing an entry and
landing allows the families to control the public spaces better: They can
more readily recognize residents from strangers and feel they have a say
22
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
in determining accepted behavior.
If this were a two-story building
rather than a three-story building,
it would have been possible, in
the lower design, to give each
family its own individual entry
directly off the street and thus
avoid having any interior public
spaces at all.
■ Social factors and
their interaction with the
physical
An understanding of the interac­
tion of the social and physical
factors that create high crime
rates in low- and moderate-income housing developments is useful not
only for devising remedies to solve their problems but also for develop­
ing strategies for stabilizing neighboring communities composed of
single-family housing.
Figure I–17 shows the influence of different social and physical factors
on the crime rates in low- and moderate-income projects operated by the
New York City Housing Authority. This analytical technique called
stepwise regression analysis is employed when many different factors
interact to produce a particular effect, such as, a rise in crime rates. The
technique isolates those factors that contribute to the effect most strongly
and independently of other factors. In figure I–17 the percentage of popu­
lation receiving welfare is shown to be the most important factor, followed
by building height or the number of families sharing the entry to a building.
Those social variables that correlated highly with different types of
crime also correlated highly with each other. These include: the percent-
age of resident population receiving welfare (excluding the elderly), the
percentage of one-parent families receiving Aid to Families with Depen­
dent Children (AFDC), and the per capita disposable income of the
project’s residents.
Correlations with dependent variables
Social and physical Indoor felony Indoor robbery Robbery Felony
variables rate rate rate rate
Percentage of population
receiving welfare (1)
a
.51 (1) .46 (1) .47 (1) .54
Building height (number of
units per entry) (2) .36 (2) .36 (2) .36 (5) .22
Project size (number of
apartments) (3) .27 (3) .26 (3) .25 (3) .22
Percentage of families with
female head on AFDC (4) .44 (4) .41 (5) .36
Number of publicly assisted
projects in area (5) .25 (5) .26 (4) .33
Felony rate of surrounding
community (2) .41
Per capita disposable
income (4) .49
N.Y.C. Housing Authority police data for 1967: 87 housing projects. .01 level of significance at
+.27, .05 level of significance at +.21.
a
Numbers in parentheses indicate rank order of correlation in creating stepwise multiple regressions.
Figure I–17:
Crime rates as explained
by social and physical
variables.
23
Creating Defensible Space
My interviews with residents, management, and police provide the fol­
lowing explanation for the correlation of these social factors and crime
rates: A one-parent household headed by a female is more vulnerable to
criminal attack; families with only one adult present are less able to con­
trol their teenage children; young teenage AFDC mothers are often vic­
timized by their boyfriends; the criminal activity by the poor is tolerated,
if not condoned, among the poor; the poor, and particularly the poor of
racial minorities, are unable to demand much in the way of police pro­
tection; and the commission of crime against residents in ghetto areas
requires minimal skill and risk.
The physical factors that correlate most strongly with crime rates are, in
order of importance: the height of the buildings, which in turn correlates
highly with the number of apartments sharing the entry to a building; the
size of the housing project or “the total number of dwelling units in the
project”; and the number of other publicly assisted housing projects in
the area.
The above suggests that two classes of physical factors contribute to
crime rates: (1) those such as “project size” or the “number of publicly
assisted projects in the area” that reinforce social weakness and pathol­
ogy; and (2) those such as “building height” or “the number of units per
entry” that affect the ability of residents to control their environment.
The first class of physical factors may also be considered another class
of social variable: For instance, if certain social characteristics such as
the percentage of AFDC families correlate highly with crime rate, then
we can anticipate that a large number of such families gathered together
in one area may aggravate the crime problems still further and increase
the per capita crime rate.
The significance of this aggregation is not simply that the presence of
more potential criminals creates proportionally more crime, but also that
a concentration of potential criminals actually increases the rate of
crime. Thus, large low-income projects, or low-income projects sur­
rounded by other low-income projects, suffer a higher crime rate than
small or isolated projects even when the percentage of AFDC families
remains the same in all the projects.
24
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
A frequent complaint from residents of communities surrounding large
public housing projects is that the teenage criminals living in the
projects make use of the large, anonymous environment of the housing
project as a place to retreat and hide. For example, there is a particularly
notorious project in Jersey City that is located adjacent to U.S. Highway 1
entering New York City. A traffic light at an intersection that borders the
project forces truckers to stop there on their way into New York. Teen-
age project residents have developed a pattern of hijacking trucks at the
stoplight, by throwing the driver out and driving the truck into the
project. The truck is then emptied in a matter of minutes and the loot
hidden in vacant apartments.
The relationship between the socioeconomic characteristics of residents
and a project’s crime rate had long been suspected. The most fascinating
finding to come out of the data analysis presented in Defensible Space
(1972) was, therefore, the influence of building height and number of
units per entry in predicting crime rate. Regardless of the social character­
istics of inhabitants, the physical form of housing was shown to play an
important role in reducing crime and in assisting residents in controlling
behavior in their housing environments.
In addition to the fact that buildings with a large number of families
sharing an entry experience higher crime rates than those with few fami­
lies per entry, they are also vulnerable to additional types of criminal
activity. Most of the crime experienced by residents of single-family
buildings is burglary, committed when members of the family are either
away from home or asleep. By contrast the residents of large, multifam­
ily dwellings experience both burglaries and robberies. The higher crime
rate experienced by residents in large multifamily dwellings is mostly attrib­
utable to the occurrence of robberies in the interior common-circulation
areas of multifamily buildings: lobbies, hallways, stairs, and elevators.
These are also the areas where criminals wait to approach their victims
and force them into apartments for the purpose of robbing them.
Of a total of 8,611 felonies reported in all New York City Housing Authority
projects in 1969 (excluding intrahousehold incidents), 3,786, or 44 percent,
were committed in the interior public areas of buildings. Of the crimes
25
3–4 Floor 6–7 Floor 12–30 Floor
Walkups Medium rises Highrises
Creating Defensible Space
committed in interior public areas,
3,165, or 84 percent, were robberies.
The breakdown by location of the
felonies taking place in interior pub­
lic areas was: elevators, 41 percent;
hallways, 22 percent; lobbies, 18 per-
cent; stairways, 9 percent; roof land­
ings, 2 percent; and other, 8 percent.
Although the socioeconomic charac­
teristics of the residents exert a strong
Figure I–18:
Variations in crime rate as
produced by different
socioeconomic groups
occupying different
building types.
influence on crime rate, the physical
characteristics of the buildings and
the project can exert a counteracting influence. The physical form of
residential environment can, in fact, ameliorate the effect of many of the
problems created by the concentration of low-income one-parent fami­
lies with teenage children.
The more complex and anonymous the housing environment, the more
difficult it is for a code of behavior following societal norms to become
established among residents. It is even difficult for moderate-income
families with two adult heads of household to cope with crime and van­
dalism problems in poorly designed environments, but when poor and
broken families are grouped together in such a setting, the results are
nothing short of disastrous. The public housing projects now experienc­
ing the highest vacancy rates are those that consist of the worst mixture
of social and physical attributes.
Figure I–18 compares the vulnerability to crime of low-income one-parent
families in different building types with the experience of moderate-
income two-parent families living in the same building types. These are the
further results of the 1972 Defensible Space analysis of New York City
housing authority data. It shows that low-income one-parent families are
more vulnerable to poor building design than moderate-income two-
parent families. Although two-parent moderate-income families suffer
higher crime rates in highrise buildings than they do in walkups, the
crime rate does not increase as dramatically with building height as it
does for low-income families. Moderate-income 2-parent families living
26
Felony rate (crimes
per 1,000 families)
80
60
40
20
o
Low-income,
female
heads of
household
Moderate-
income,
two adult
heads of
household
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
in 12- to 30-story buildings experience a lower crime rate than low-
income 1-parent families living in 6- and 7-story buildings.
■ The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups
I have explained the problems resulting from housing low-income fami­
lies with children in highrise buildings. But one should not conclude
from this that highrises are not suitable for other lifestyle groups. For
instance, elderly people, even those of low income, do very well in highrise
buildings as long as the buildings are kept exclusively for the elderly.
Elderly people do not like walking stairs and appreciate an elevator
building. Retired elderly often live away from their children, and their
elderly neighbors become their new extended family. At the push of an
elevator button, they can have access to a hundred other families within
a highrise building.
If we also design the ground floor of an elderly highrise as a communal
and recreation area, we can create a security station at the building entry
door that can be manned by elderly volunteers. If a problem arises, a
push of a button summons the police. With the use of gates and fencing,
the grounds surrounding their building can also be secured and defined
for their exclusive use.
The lesson we can learn from this is that some of the highrise stock we have
inherited, because it has proven unusable for welfare families with children,
may lend itself to conversion for the exclusive use of the elderly.
However, we should not jump for joy too quickly. Many of our highrise
public housing projects in large cities like New York, Chicago, and
Boston were built as 1,000-unit agglomerations, and the need for such
a concentration of the elderly is, at present, just not there. Also, the com­
munity surrounding such a 1,000-unit agglomeration will meanwhile have
been devastated—no place to be putting the elderly. It would not be wise to
convert 1 of 10 highrise buildings for the elderly, while keeping the adja­
cent 9 buildings for families with children. The elderly would be victimized
and refuse to live in such an environment.
27
Creating Defensible Space
Finally, even when highrises exist in isolation, the cost of converting a
building made up of three-bedroom apartments into one-bedroom units
may be prohibitive.
■ Factors influencing crime and instability
Our institute’s study of the Factors Influencing Crime and Instability
in Federally-Assisted Housing (Newman and Franck, 1980) involved
44 moderate-income housing sites and 29 public housing sites in three
cities: Newark, St. Louis, and San Francisco. It used a path analysis to
take into account the influence of other factors, including socioeconomic
characteristics, management effectiveness, quality of city police and security
services, and form of ownership.
The results showed that two physical factors and two social factors
accounted for most of the variation. The two physical factors were the
size of the development and the number of families sharing common
entries into a building. The two social factors were the percentage of
families on AFDC and the ratio of teenagers to adults. As public housing
has become housing for the poorest of the poor, the only variables that
lend themselves to modification are the physical, project size and the
number of apartments sharing common entries.
Project size is a measure of the overall concentration of low-income
families in a project or cluster of projects. We found that the larger the
concentration, the more residents felt isolated from the rest of society
and felt their perceived differences to be greater. Project size affects stig­
matization—as perceived both by the outside world and by the project
residents themselves. The apathy that comes with stigmatization leads to
neglect and withdrawal, first on the part of the residents, then by hous­
ing management, and finally by the municipal agencies that service the
project: police, education, parks and recreation, refuse collection, and
social services. A large project provides a continuous area in which
gangs can operate, allowing even one gang or group of drug dealers to
contaminate all of its public space.
The larger the number of units sharing common entries is a measure of
how public the interior corridors, elevators, and stairs are. The more
residents who have to share common areas, the more difficult it is to lay
28
Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles
claim to them; the more difficult it is to distinguish other residents from
intruders; and the more difficult it is to agree with other residents on the
care and control of these areas.
The numbers within the brackets below show the amount of variation in
residents’ behavior that is explained by building size. If the number is
preceded by a minus, it means that an increase in building size has a
negative effect on that behavior. In the case of residents’ use of public
areas, for instance, the numbers in brackets mean that an increase of
1 unit in building size will cause a reduction of 0.50 of a unit in resi­
dents’ use of public areas. This demonstrates that building form has a
very strong predictive capacity on public area use, independent of other
factors that are also likely to predict it.
Building size has a statistically significant direct causal effect on resi­
dents’ behavior as follows:
(i) Use of public areas in their development [– 0.50].
(ii) Social interaction with their neighbors [– 0.31].
(iii) Sense of control over the interior and exterior public areas of their
development [– 0.29].
Further results of our path analysis showed that building size has impor­
tant causal effects on fear of crime [0.38] and on community instability
[0.39], independent of socioeconomic, managerial, ownership, police,
and guard service factors. Community instability is measured by apart­
ment turnover and vacancy rates and by residents’ desire to move. How-
ever, as in the 1970 New York City public housing study discussed
earlier, the findings from our study of moderate-income developments
showed that the socioeconomic characteristics of residents also have
strong causal effects on fear, instability, and crime.
Independent of other factors, the socioeconomic characteristics of resi­
dents have a total causal effect on fear of crime of 0.59, on community
instability of 0.51, and on crimes against persons of 0.32. These findings
can be interpreted as follows: A unit increase in the percentage of AFDC
families living in a development will produce 0.59 of a unit increase in
fear of crime.
29
Creating Defensible Space
The data from this analysis can be summarized in still another way by
looking at the results of the regression analysis. The R
2
is a sign used to
represent the percent of variance in one factor that is predicted by all
other factors acting together. The effects of building size, socioeconomic
characteristics of residents, management performance, form of ownership,
and police and guard service together produce the following: R
2
= 0.69 for
fear (p < 0.001); R
2
= 0.67 for community instability (p < 0.001); and
R
2
= 0.39 for crimes against persons (p < 0.05). Another way of stating
these findings is that the combination of these factors predict 69 percent
of the variation in fear, for instance. But more important still, of all the
factors in the predictive model, it is the socioeconomic characteristics of
residents and building size that together predict most of the variation in
fear, instability, and crime.
30
31
C H A P T E R
TWO
Mini-neighborhoods in
Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
The Five Oaks community in Dayton, Ohio, is a one-half-square mile
residential area located a mile north of the downtown. It contains 2,000
households, or about 5,000 people, inhabiting one- and two-family
homes and some small apart­
ment buildings.
Like most American cities,
Dayton experienced rapid
suburban expansion following
World War II. The exodus of
the middle-class population
from the city was accompanied
by the relocation of shopping
facilities, manufacturing, and
office buildings. The replace­
ment population was initially
composed of working-class
homeowner families, but over
time these were replaced again by lower income renters who were
mostly African American.
The problems experienced by Five Oaks are typical of older urban com­
munities located near the downtown core: heavy through traffic; rising
crime; the visual presence of drug dealers and prostitutes; single-family
homes being converted to multifamily use; the continuing replacement
of white, middle- and working-class property owners with low-income,
minority renters; and general disinvestment. The U.S. census showed
that in the 10 years between 1980 and 1990, the community went from a
population of mostly white homeowners to 50-percent African American
and 60-percent renter.
During the year before the Defensible Space modifications were under-
taken, violent crimes increased by 77 percent; robberies by 76 percent;
vandalism by 38 percent; and overall crime by 16 percent. Not only was
Figure II–1:
Map locating Five Oaks and
downtown Dayton. Note the
expressway that connects
downtown to the suburbs
and the exit ramp at the foot
of the Five Oaks community.
31
Creating Defensible Space
crime increasing at a maddening pace, but drug dealers, pimps, and pros­
titutes had brazenly taken over the streets. Gun shots could be heard at
all times of the day and night; blaring boomboxes meant to attract drug
purchasers disturbed everyone’s sleep; and speeding cars, the byproduct
of these illicit activities, threatened people in their own streets. Children
were virtually kept locked up in their homes. A 13-member police strike
force hit the neighborhood round the clock every few months, but the
results were only temporary.
The Dayton Area Board of
Realtors reported that sales
values had dropped by 11
percent in that 1 year, while
regional values rose 6 percent.
Every second house in Five
Oaks was up for sale.
Downtown Dayton still retains
some of its finer old office and
shopping buildings. Neighbor-
hoods beautifully constructed
in the 1920s border this down-
town. Five Oaks is one of
Figure II–2:
Typical street in Five Oaks.
these, and it serves as a gateway between the downtown and the subur­
ban residential communities to the north. It is encountered on a daily ba­
sis by those coming to the downtown area to work and shop. Five Oaks
is a community symptomatic of the city’s problems and aspirations. For
this reason many in the city government felt that what happens to Five
Oaks will happen to the rest of Dayton. If Five Oaks fell, there would be
a domino effect on the surrounding communities.
But Five Oaks’ location between the downtown and the suburbs also
turned its interior streets into a network of cut-through traffic as com­
muters used them to avoid the larger, traffic-laden arterials at the periph­
ery of the community. Of Five Oaks’ total traffic volume, 35 percent was
found to be cutting through the neighborhood. The general effect was to
burden its streets so heavily as to make them unsuitable for normal,
quiet residential use—a use common to cul-de-sac streets in the suburbs
where, ironically, most of the cut-through traffic was headed.
32
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
Five Oaks was also experiencing social problems: The dynamics of
population change in the community had led to increased tensions
between the older, permanent homeowners and the new, transient renters
who were seen as a threat to the stability of the neighborhood. The lack
of shared values and aspirations among neighbors increased feelings of iso­
lation and the perception of being on their own. Even the most innocent of
activities, such as children playing in the street, or one neighbor asking
the other for more careful garbage disposal, was perceived as intolerance
and incivility.
Ironically, because of its location and socioeconomic makeup and the
perception that it was still safe, Five Oaks was perceived as an ideal
community for drug dealing directed at middle-income outsiders. To the
immediate west of Five Oaks is a community that also had drug dealers
working its streets, but that community had become predominantly Afri­
can American, 30 percent vacant, and severely deteriorated. It was per­
ceived as too dangerous a place to buy drugs and solicit prostitutes by
white, middle-class buyers. So the activity moved to Five Oaks. One
wonders if the drug purchasers thought that the residents of Five Oaks
would protect them or call the police if a drug deal went sour or a pimp
got too greedy.
The noisy and blatantly evident traffic of drug dealers, prostitutes, and
their clients was disturbing to the community out of all proportion to the
number of vehicles, or threat, they represented. The police, however, did
suspect that the frequency of burglaries and auto thefts in the community
stemmed directly from drug-related activities.
Unable to sell their homes for a price that would pay off their outstand­
ing mortgages, many homeowners had moved away and rented them—
often in subdivided form and at times illegally and in a substandard
fashion. The result of these inexpensive and inadequate conversions was
the rapid, and visually evident, deterioration of the housing stock. This
led to a reluctance on the part of neighboring homeowners to keep up
their own properties. The community had entered a spiral of decline that
appeared irreversible. Houses were selling for one-half to one-quarter of
their replacement cost. The only buyers were slumlords.
33
Creating Defensible Space
Community and municipal
efforts to acquire and refur­
bish deteriorated housing had
barely any impact. Five times
as many houses were being
lost as were being refur­
bished. Slumlords, who found
that drug dealers were unde­
manding tenants, rented to
them and let their properties
decline still further—pulling
the condition of adjacent
housing down with them. An
Figure II–3:
immediate change to the infra-
Deteriorated two-story
structure was necessary, one that would visibly alter the entire pattern of use
walkup in Five Oaks being
and would make itself evident at the scale of the whole community. The
rented to drug dealers.
problem with the city’s program of refurbishing single homes scattered
throughout Five Oaks was that it did not produce any visual evidence of
rehabilitative change at the scale of the entire community.
Five Oaks contains a variety of different types of housing: Some streets
have large, stately homes on
them, constructed of brick
and stone and situated on
large lots; others have wood
frame houses on small lots.
Still other streets contain two-
story, two-family houses that
share a common wall, while
others house two- and three-
story apartment buildings.
Some of the arterial streets
have medium highrise apart­
ment buildings on them.
Figure II–4:
Street in Five Oaks with
various building types.
The community also houses
some important institutions:
The Grandview hospital complex, located in the southeast quadrant of
Five Oaks, serves the entire urban region; two large parochial schools on
34
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
the east side of Five Oaks, Corpus Christi and Dayton Christian, serve
the broader city as well as the immediate community.
The west and east borders of Five Oaks are defined by two major arteri­
als that link northern suburban Dayton with downtown Dayton (Salem
Avenue on the west and North Main on the east). The northern boundary
of Five Oaks is a residential street called Delaware Avenue. Its southern
boundary is a mixed residential and institutional street called Grand
Avenue. A further mixed-use residential and commercial street defines a
portion of the Five Oaks boundary to the east: Forest Avenue. Most of
the traffic on the streets of Five Oaks was perceived as going through
the neighborhood heading for suburban destinations to the north.
Figure II–5:
The 1990 census revealed that 3 of the 5 sectors that compose Five Oaks
Map of Five Oaks showing
internal streets and arterial
have 64-percent or more renters. The remaining 2 sectors have 43-percent
boundaries.
and 49-percent renters.
35
Creating Mini-Neighborhoods
in the
Five Oaks Residential Community

Prcpued rorth.
City of Dayton
b, the
Institute for Community Design Analysis
Oreat Neck. N.Y. . Pt. Lauderdale, Pl. _ <...v
Creating Defensible Space
Because most of the dwellings in Five
Oaks consist of one- and two-family
houses, the data reveal that many
homeowners have moved away and are
renting their units in either their origi­
nal form or subdivided. This is partially
because they were unable to sell their
homes at reasonable prices.
Figure II–7 shows that most of the
renters in Five Oaks are African
American. Because African Ameri­
cans earn about two-thirds the
income of whites, it would appear
that the rental market is at the lower
Figure II–6:
Map of Five Oaks showing
percent of renters in
different areas, 1990.
end of the scale.
Figure II–8 shows that the three sectors
of Five Oaks that have a high percent-
age of renters also have a high vacancy
rate, ranging from 10 percent to 29
percent. Citywide, Dayton has a
vacancy rate of only 6 percent.
Despite the evident change revealed
by the census data, Five Oaks contin­
ued to be attractive to people work­
ing for institutions located in the
downtown area: for example, city
government, the universities, and
hospitals. Its large, well-constructed
houses could not be easily replicated
today: Their materials are too costly,
and the craftsmen who put them
together are of a bygone era. At the
Figure II–7:
Map of Five Oaks showing
percent of African-American
renters in different areas,
1990.
low end, a wood frame and shingled,
three-bedroom house on a small lot sold for between $45,000 and $55,000,
depending on its condition. A larger, brick house with ornate architecture,
quality woodwork and glass, on a larger lot, could be purchased for
36
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
$75,000. Should one be interested in
rental property, a two-family brick
house with each unit having two bed-
rooms could be purchased for as little
as $58,000. The large, stately houses
on large lots that had a replacement
cost of more than $500,000 could be
purchased for just over $100,000.
■ Initiating the process
Our institute first became involved in
Five Oaks when the Dayton Police
Department’s superintendent of com­
munity relations, Major Jaruth
Durham-Jefferson, made an inquiring
telephone call. She was a forceful but
Figure II–8:
Map of Five Oaks showing
charming African American who had heard of my work with street
percent of vacancies in
closures in St. Louis. “The Dayton community,” she said, “was talking
different areas, 1990
Defensible Space as a remedy to some of its crime and traffic problems,
and there was some disagreement in people’s minds about what it meant.
Would I care to come for a visit so they could hear, from the horse’s
mouth, what it was all about? And while I was there, would I care to
take a first-hand look at the communities in question?” I was not sure
whether I was being asked or told. That telephone call led to a 3-day
trip, night and day tours of many of Dayton’s communities, meetings
with key city officials and staff, and lectures to both the city staff and
the community at large. In preparation, Major Durham-Jefferson had
supplied me with the demographic and crime data I had requested and
scheduled all the meetings.
From the positive response to this initial visit by residents and staff came
a request from the city manager for our institute to embark on a program
that would produce schematic plans for the modification of two commu­
nities: Five Oaks, the racially mixed residential community near
Dayton’s downtown; and Dunbar Manor, a predominantly African-
American public housing project. These two communities were typical
of many in Dayton. The city manager hoped that by having city staff
work closely with me, they could learn how it was done and could then
37
4%
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IOro\.
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iJ
Creating Defensible Space
apply the methodology elsewhere themselves. In this book I will
only talk about the Five Oaks portion of our work in Dayton because
the modifications to the Dunbar Manor public housing project have
yet to be completed or evaluated.
The day-to-day running of the Five Oaks project was assigned to the
city’s director of urban development, Ray Reynolds. He asked the
planning department and highway department to each assign a staff
person to work with me full time while I was in Dayton. Police rep­
resentatives attended all meetings with the community and city staff.
The chief of police himself attended the large public presentations.
The police also made crime data available as needed and were a con­
tinuing supportive presence.
■ Initial presentations to city staff and the
community
The initial 3-day visit to Five Oaks was critical in determining
whether the city and community would buy into the concept. The
night of my arrival I insisted on a tour of the neighborhoods we
would be visiting the next day. Major Durham-Jefferson looked a
little concerned. “The only way to find out what we’re dealing
with,” I told her, “is to see what is going down at night.” During that
night tour we witnessed a drug raid by police in the public housing
project and saw drug dealing and prostitutes on many streets within
Five Oaks. We drove in Major Durham-Jefferson’s own car, rather
than in a police car, so as not to create a disturbance. Not knowing
our identity, drug dealers vied with each other to make a sale.
The next morning’s meeting with city staff was scheduled early so as
not to disrupt their working day. The city manager had assembled
most department heads, including: fire, emergency response, gar­
bage collection, snow removal, planning, community relations, and
traffic. I particularly insisted on having all those people who were
likely to be most opposed to the concept present. The chief of police
was also present, but he was expected to be a proponent of the idea.
At this initial meeting, it is essential also to have the mayor, the city
manager, and a few city council members present. This informs the
city department heads that the concept is being taken seriously, and
38
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
they look to elected officials for guidance about whether to be receptive
to the idea and give their cooperation.
I have found that, from the start, a planner must take into account where
all the opposition to his concepts is likely to come from and address
them first. He must understand who all the players are, what their con­
cerns are, and how to involve them in the process. Mini-neighborhoods
only work if the community and the city staff really accept the idea.
At the initial meeting, the city staff, elected officials, and I sat around a
table together. Using a slide projector, but sitting with them at the table
rather than talking from a podium, I explained the Defensible Space con­
cept by showing what I had done in other cities. I told them that they
were free to interrupt at any time with any questions. I explained that the
reason they were the very first in the city to see the concept was that I
knew they were not going to like it. It was going to complicate how they
collected garbage and how they removed snow, the fire and ambulance
people were going to have to memorize new routes for getting to places
quickly, and it was going to disrupt traffic flow, but it was also going to
make a big difference to the life and viability of communities and to the
city’s tax base, because it would reduce crime, increase property values,
and stabilize neighborhoods.
I then explained that the plan would only be prepared with their con­
tinual participation. That meant that representatives from every city
department would be involved in every step of the process. If, at any
time, we proposed something they thought was unworkable, I wanted
them to say so. We would then try to find a way to modify what we were
planning so as to accommodate them. We would not proceed with the
plan until we felt we had arrived at something everyone could accept.
In planning mini-neighborhoods, it is very important to get to know all
the players and what is bothering them. This is as true for the politics
within city hall as it is for neighborhood rivalries. Sometimes what is
being expressed as objective opposition to the idea has its origin in per­
sonal politics, but it is just as important to know that as to learn the inter­
nal pecking order and priorities at city hall. For instance, in Dayton, the
current director of the planning department had just been demoted from
assistant city manager by a new administration. He felt that he should
39
Creating Defensible Space
have been made the coordinator of this project rather than the city’s director
of urban development. Even though one of his staff was assigned to me
full time, the planning director kept raising philosophical and opera­
tional objections to the evolving plans. I attempted to address them all,
but soon realized that something more was wrong. I invited the city
manager and the director of urban development out for a drink and
learned that the planning director had hoped that he would become the
new city manager. The Five Oaks plan was the new city manager’s first
showcase project, and the planning director was not going to do any-
thing to help it along. Once I knew that, I tried to sidestep the planning
director rather than engage in long public discussions with him.
Following that initial meeting, I toured Five Oaks in a minivan with
community leaders and city staff. On tour, we frequently stopped to walk
the streets and alleys, picking up residents along the way who had earlier
been alerted. I explained the concept to them and sought their input, try­
ing out ideas on them about which streets to close. I took slides as we
walked and had them developed within the hour so that they could be
incorporated into later presentations.
Following the neighborhood tour, we all had lunch together at an infor­
mal eating place. This was intended as an opportunity for everyone to
relax. With neighborhood people coming into contact with so many city
department heads, the discussion often went off on tangents—old
wounds were opened. However, this is a source of useful information,
and it gives city staff a sense of what is taking place on the streets of
their neighborhoods.
That evening, I gave a formal presentation to a previously well-publicized
town meeting. As many community people and city personnel as possible
were invited. A few hundred people attended. I again showed slides
about what I had accomplished in other cities, but this time I also in­
cluded slides of the streets I had just walked through to show how simi­
lar the situations were. The presentation was followed by an open
question period that lasted more than an hour. It is important that this
community meeting be chaired by a city staff person and that city staff
appear at the podium with me to help answer some questions. Otherwise,
the appearance given is of an outsider telling the community how to do
things.
40
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
In my presentations, I explain what the restructuring of streets to create
mini-neighborhoods accomplishes: It alters the entire look and function
of the community; it completely removes vehicular through-traffic (the
only traffic remaining will be seeking destinations within each mini-
neighborhood); and it completely changes the character of the streets
(instead of being long, directional avenues laden with traffic, they
become places where children can play safely and neighbors can inter-
act). By limiting vehicular access, the streets are perceived as being
under the control of the residents. Fewer cars make it easier to recognize
neighbors—and strangers. I explain that access to the newly defined
mini-neighborhoods, which will contain three to six streets, will be lim­
ited to only one entry off an arterial street. People will only be able to
drive out the same way they came in. It is important to explain, again
and again, that the gates will only restrict vehicular traffic: Pedestrians
will be able to freely walk everywhere they did before.
Limiting access and egress to one opening for each mini-neighborhood
means that criminals and their clients would have to think about coming
into a mini-neighborhood to transact their business, as they would have
to leave the same way they entered. There would no longer be a multi­
tude of escape routes open to them down every city street. A call to the
police by any resident would mean that criminals and their clients would
be meeting the police on their way out. Such a street system will clearly
be perceived by criminals, and particularly by their clients, as too risky
in which to do business.
The subdivision of a community into mini-neighborhoods is intended to
encourage the interaction of neighbors. Parents will watch their children
playing in the now quiet streets and get to know each other. They will no
longer feel locked up in their houses, facing the world alone. Tensions
between renters and property owners, and the concern over incivilities,
will likely also diminish as both parties living on the same closed street
come to know each other through greater association and are able to
develop standards of mutually acceptable behavior together.
Five Oaks demonstrated that once people came together within their own
mini-neighborhood, they reached out to other neighborhoods and to the
larger urban community. In other cities, mini-neighborhoods have not
41
Creating Defensible Space
only arrested decline; they have made people realize they could intervene
to change things, and led them to become active in city politics. This is
something we documented in our study of the closed streets of St. Louis
(Newman, Grandin, Wayno, 1974) and witnessed not only in Dayton but
in our mini-neighborhood projects in Florida. At the level of the neigh­
borhood, reinvestment in one’s own property no longer has to be under-
taken as a risky, individual act but as an activity done in concert with
one’s neighbors.
The cost of creating mini-neighborhoods is low, about $10,000 for each
gate serving 30 to 40 households. Cities can use a variety of means for
paying for the modifications: In St. Louis, the middle-income residents
almost universally paid for it themselves; in Florida, some cities used
CDBG funds to pay for the implementation costs, while others issued
special district tax bonds to pay for the work and taxed the beneficiaries
accordingly. Using the latter method, each household pays about $60
extra in real-estate taxes per year over a 10-year period to cover the cost
of the modifications. Still other cities split the costs between residents
and CDBG or capital improvement funds.
Resident participation in paying for the gates is important for three reasons:
■ It instills a sense of ownership, and enhancing proprietary feelings is
what Defensible Space modifications are all about. Paying for one-
half the cost of the modifications gives residents a possessive
attitude toward the gates and the semiprivate streets they create.
■ It gives the community more control over the future of the modifica­
tions. If, down the road, a new city administration decides, for what-
ever reason, that it no longer wants the gates, the community will
have more leverage in preventing the city from removing them if it
has paid for one-half the construction costs.
■ A community’s willingness to cover 50 percent of the cost makes a
city more receptive to the idea and gives the project priority in the
city’s capital improvement budget. Cities are always looking for
ways to stretch their limited funds and politicians want to take as
much credit as they can in physically evident change.
42
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
It is very important to make clear to residents that most of their internal
streets will be converted to cul-de-sacs and that in the first few months
following the modifications residents, their outside friends, and service
people will be inconvenienced. During this initiation period, many
residents will want the gates removed, including some of those who
voted to have them installed. But after 4 months and after residents and
their friends have had a chance to learn to find their way around, people
will not be able to believe the improvement in the quality of their lives
produced by these changes and will insist that the gates remain.
At the conclusion of these initial meetings, I ask residents and city staff
if the consensus is that we continue with the process to see if we can
develop a plan or simply stop there. I specifically do not ask for
approval of the concept, as this is premature: Most people will have
heard of the Defensible Space and mini-
neighborhood concepts only for the first
time; they will need time to digest them.
More importantly, people will need to
see how the planning process evolves,
whether their participation genuinely
shapes the plan, and what the plan for
their mini-neighborhood will actually
look like. After these initial meetings, the
overwhelming majority of Five Oaks resi­
dents voted to continue with the process.
■ Community participation in
designing the mini-
neighborhoods
It is critical to the success of the plan
that as many people as possible partici­
pate in defining the boundaries of their
mini-neighborhoods, that is, in deciding
which streets should remain open, and
where the gates should go. On my sec­
ond trip to Dayton, I called the community together and showed them
Figure II–9:
Greek cross plan for an
large plans of Five Oaks. These plans showed each house on each street
ideal mini-neighborhood
layout.
43
Creating Defensible Space
and each shed in each alley. I ex­
plained to the residents that they were
now going to define their own mini-
neighborhoods and outlined the prin­
ciples they should use in defining them:
■ Smallness is essential to identity,
so a mini-neighborhood should
consist of a grouping of no more
than three to six streets. The
optimal configuration for a
mini-neighborhood is a Greek
cross, a vertical with two hori­
zontals. Only one point of the
cross will remain open, the
Figure II–10:
Overly large cul-de-sac
layout.
other five will have gates across
them.
■ Cul-de-sac configurations should not be too large, for they take resi­
dents too far out of their way and produce too much of their own
internal traffic. If a mini-neighborhood is made up of a vertical with
six horizontals, for instance, residents will have to travel too long a
distance to get to the end of their mini-neighborhood, and then they
will have to travel all the way back to get out of it. In the process,
they will encounter others doing the same thing. This will produce a
great amount of internal traffic, and traffic is exactly what we are
trying to avoid.
■ A mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of streets
sharing similar housing characteristics: building type (such as
detached, semidetached, row houses, and walkups), building
size, lot size, setbacks from the street, building materials,
architectural style, and density.
■ To facilitate access by emergency vehicles, access to the entry
portals of each mini-neighborhood should be from existing
arterial streets. As much as possible, these arterials should be
on the border of the Five Oaks neighborhood to enable outsid­
ers to find their way in easily.
44
:::)

+. ENTItY
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
■ Mini-neighborhoods and their
access arterials should be
designed to facilitate access but
discourage through-traffic in the
overall Five Oaks community.
I then asked people to come up to
the map, gave them each a different
colored felt pen, and said, “First
make an X where you live and then
show us what you think of as your
mini-neighborhood.” Then I asked
the rest of the audience: “How many
of you who live nearby agree with
their boundaries?” Some would say
yes, others would say no. I would
then ask the no persons to come up
and take another colored pen, locate
where they live, and draw in their
view of their mini-neighborhood.
This process inevitably elicits some
friendly booing interspersed with
applause. Then I ask if anybody else
wants to change that boundary. And so it goes until we reach a consensus.
Such meetings often run for a few hours. It is usually possible to get any
differences resolved, but sometimes it becomes necessary to put in two
mini-neighborhoods where you might have anticipated only one. A com­
mon mistake, in any case, is to make mini-neighborhoods too large. It is
important to keep in mind that this process has two functions: to under-
stand the neighborhoods that exist in people’s minds, and to bring
people together to begin planning for their own future.
Once the mini-neighborhoods are defined, I ask people to volunteer to
become mini-neighborhood captains. Their job is to make certain that
every household in their mini-neighborhood is aware of what is being
planned and participates in determining which street will remain open
and where the gates will be placed. This will require putting fliers in
everyone’s mailbox to announce meetings and city council hearings.
Figure II–11:
Schematic showing ideal
way to access mini-
neighborhoods from
arterials.
45
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Creating Defensible Space
KENILWORTH
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ROCKFORD
■ Traffic studies
As soon as the city of Dayton commit­
ted itself to the process, I asked the
highway department to undertake
origin-destination studies to determine
how much traffic on the streets of
Five Oaks was simply driving through
the neighborhood. They found that
35 percent was. I then asked them to
determine whether the existing arterials
at the periphery of Five Oaks would be
able to handle the 35-percent cut-
through traffic that would be removed
from the neighborhood streets. They
Figure II–12:
Mini-neighborhood
boundaries of Five Oaks as
defined by residents.
found that they could.
■ Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan
The final Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan that evolved under my
guidance was very much what the community sketched at its meetings.
Minor modifications were made to accommodate traffic and emergency
vehicle access but always with community approval.
The one-half-square-mile Five Oaks community was divided into
10 mini-neighborhoods, each defined by the characteristics discussed
earlier. Thirty-five streets and 25 alleys were closed. Two of the mini-
neighborhoods, Corpus Christi and Grandview, housed the community’s
major schools and hospital complex. The remaining eight mini-neighbor-
hoods were primarily residential in character—one included part of the
hospital complex. Each mini-neighborhood was defined on the basis of a
similarity in the size of the houses and lots, the materials of construction,
and whether they contained single-family or multifamily buildings. Each
mini-neighborhood contained between three and six streets.
The major arterials that defined the periphery of the Five Oaks commu­
nity were retained intact and allowed east-west and north-south move­
ment past the community. They were: Grand and Delaware going
east-west; and Salem, Forest, and Main going north-south.
46
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
Only one north-south arterial that was internal to the community was
retained in my plan, Richmond. The community later decided that it would
prefer to have Richmond interrupted so as to further discourage north-south
through-traffic. This produced some congestion on one or two streets, and it
is difficult to know whether that change was worthwhile.
The 10 mini-neighborhoods were given temporary names for identifica­
tion purposes only. These were the names of the most prominent street
within each: Kenilworth, Kenwood, Harvard, Grafton, Homewood,
Neal, Rockford, and Squirrel. The other two neighborhoods are Corpus
Christi and Grandview, the school and hospital complex. The internal, Figure II–13:
two-way arterials that both define and give access to each of the mini-
Mini-neighborhood plan for
Five Oaks showing location
neighborhoods were: Five Oaks, Richmond, Old Orchard, Homewood,
of gates and entries into
Neal, and Rockford. mini-neighborhoods.
47
ENTRANCE FEATURES
Creating Defensible Space
A plan showing the workings
of these access arterials and the
cul-de-sac streets that serve
each mini-neighborhood
appears in figure II–13.
Because the existing streets in
Five Oaks are too narrow, the
cul-de-sac at the end of each
street is not actually a cul-de-
sac but is either a hammerhead
turn, or makes use of the inter-
Figure II–14:
Hammerhead turn at end
of street.
secting alleys to provide a turn-
around at the end of each
deadend street.
Only one entrance, or portal, is provided to each mini-neighborhood, and
it is the only way out as well. A prominent symbol should be used to
mark the entry and indicate that one is coming into a private world. We
proposed the use of brick pillars that included the Five Oaks name and
the name of the mini-neighborhood.
We also proposed that the pillars be
positioned within the roadbed, inten­
tionally constricting the entry. These
pillars were to be placed to define the
outer line of the curbside parking. We
also recommended that a brick paving
strip be introduced into the roadbed
running between the two pillars. The
top of the bricks would be level with
the road surface, but the strip would
produce a noise and a noticeable
vibration as automobiles ran over it.
This would bring to the drivers’ fur­
ther attention the fact that they were
entering a different kind of street. The
bricks are intentionally not raised
Figure II–15:
above the surface of the road so they
Proposed portal markers for
mini-neighborhoods.
48
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
will not interfere with snow
removal equipment. A standard
deadend street sign would also be
added to explain that there was
no other outlet.
The pillars actually installed by
the city were positioned on the
sidewalk on the far side of the
road. They proved to be barely
visible and did little to identify
the entry portals. The decision to
position them this way, rather
than the way we proposed, was
Figure II–16:
the result of the snow removal people saying that pillars located within Actual position of portals
the roadway would prove a hazard.
as installed.
The gates installed by the city limiting access and egress to and from
each mini-neighborhood come very close to the ones we designed. They
are relatively prominent and
serve to deter vehicular access
while allowing pedestrians entry.
In our design we had proposed
two additional smaller gates
above the sidewalks on either
side of the road. These pedestrian
gates were to remain open all the
time. A fence would then con­
tinue the closure running from
the pedestrian gate to some
physical element on the adjoining
property (fencing, shrubs, or a
building).
In case of emergencies, such as access for fire trucks and ambulances,
these gates are able to be opened. Fire and emergency personnel should
be given keys to them. To simplify access to all streets by moving vans, a
few residents living near these gates should also be given keys to them.
Figure II–17:
Proposed gates defining
mini-neighborhoods.
49
I
;
Creating Defensible Space
In implementing our designs,
the city decided to simplify
my gate design, eliminating
the pedestrian gate on either
side of the road and the fence
extension from the pedestrian
gate onto the adjacent prop­
erty. The city also eliminated
the lights we proposed for the
tops of the pillars. These were
intended to illuminate the gates
at night. The city used large
reflectors instead, saving money
Figure II–18:
by not having to provide lights,
Gates as actually installed.
replacement bulbs, or wiring from the nearest electric utility pole. The result
is not too elegant and detracts from the stylishness of the gate.
The basic reason for the city changing the gate design was cost. Only
70 percent of the residents wanted the mini-neighborhood design imple­
mented, and in order to placate the others, the city manager promised
that a survey would be taken at the end of the first year. If the majority
of residents wanted the gates removed, the city would remove them.
This policy dictated that the gate design be simple to minimize costs
both for implementation and removal. Although there is still another rea­
son why the pedestrian gates were eliminated: The city wanted it made
clear that the gates were intended to restrict automobile traffic only, and
that pedestrians would continue to have unlimited access to every street.
It should be remembered that children would still have to walk through
various mini-neighborhoods to get to and from school.
In the street closures implemented in Florida, communities used attrac­
tive plantings set against walls rather than gates to close off streets. The
lack of snow and the lack of street curbs and gutters allowed that to be
done where it could not be done up north. These floral solutions must be
careful not to interfere with existing drainage patterns, however. The
repositioning of rainwater sewers and the provision of new gutters to
accommodate a planted area at the end of a street can prove prohibi­
tively costly. It can also deprive the fire department of the flexibility of
an operable gate in the case of a serious emergency.
50
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
■ The alley problem in Dayton
The fact that many of the houses in Five Oaks are also served by alleys,
and that these alleys are used for both parking and garbage collection
complicated our plan appreciably. For maximum effectiveness in facili­
tating community control and in reducing crime, access to the alleys had
to be limited to the residents of each mini-neighborhood and to the gar­
bage collection vehicles.
In all cases, the alleys were too narrow to allow a garbage truck to turn
around and go back the way it came. This would also be inefficient and
costly. Garbage trucks had to have the ability to continue through to the
alley in the next mini-neighborhood. In some instances, such as in the
Grafton and Homewood mini-neighborhoods, a common alley served
streets in two different mini-neighborhoods, making it impossible to make
each mini-neighborhood truly
separate.
Access to the alleys as well as
to the streets was closed off by
locked gates to which only the
sanitation department had
keys. Garbage trucks were to
be the dominant users of the
locked alley gates. Residents
did not need to open the alley
gates because they could turn
their cars around in the alleys
as they entered or left their
parking garages.
■ Allied measures for stabilizing the community
The physical modifications were intended to dramatically redefine the
community and give residents greater control and use of their streets.
But these physical modifications were only the first of three other mea­
sures implemented in the Five Oaks community. The first measure was
critical to the success of the physical plan. The three other measures are
listed below in order of their importance.
Figure II–19:
Gates across the rear
alleys. Parking garages
are seen in background.
51
Creating Defensible Space
Coordinate police activities with target areas. Once the gates were
installed, police, in a concerted effort, came in and flushed out the drug
dealers, pimps, and prostitutes. They had done this before in Five Oaks,
but the criminals had come back a week or 2 later. However, when the
criminals were removed after the gates were installed, they did not return.
I believe that this police component is very important to the success of
the entire program. Continual police liaison with the community and
their participation in community planning meetings is also essential to
giving the community the reassurance it needs. The effect of creating
mini-neighborhoods in other communities where I have worked has
been to personalize community/police relations. Creating mini-
neighborhoods has produced a genuine appreciation of the police for the
work they do and has resulted in a focused program by the police to
eliminate the real problems threatening the community. Police officers
come to be recognized and known by their first names. The police, in
turn, now know many community residents by name. When a problem
arises, they usually know exactly where to go to address it. A year after
the modifications, police say it takes a much smaller expenditure of
force on their part to keep Five Oaks free of crime.
One of the benefits of street closure and the creation of mini-neighborhoods
is that it brings neighbors together in unified action to address their joint
problems. It also focuses their attention on removing criminal activity
from their communities. Rather than having one or two hesitant neigh­
bors acting in isolation to bring criminal activity to the attention of the
police, an entire street, or a mini-neighborhood, now acts in concert to
alert the police and provide them with support in their anticrime efforts.
A united community can more readily document criminal activity and
photograph and identify criminals. Immediately after the street closings,
police will be called upon by the community more frequently. These
calls for service will diminish rapidly as the word about the street clo­
sures spreads to criminals and their clients. Police will find themselves
working with a community that has a clearer sense of its own values and
how they want the police to assist them. It should prove easier for the
police to make arrests and to discourage further criminal activity within
the community.
52
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
Improve code enforcement procedures. There were some truly disrepu­
tably maintained properties in Five Oaks that discouraged adjoining
property owners from making their own improvements. Many properties
had so many code violations, they could be shut down by the city for
being beyond repair. Their owners were milking them for what they
could and not reinvesting a penny. When these buildings could no longer
attract even poor families, the landlords rented them out to drug dealers,
who were pleased with the location and had little need for amenities.
The effect of neglected property is threefold: It results in neglect of adja­
cent property; it brings down sales prices in the surrounding area; and it
attracts drug dealers who increase crime, traffic, and the perception that
the community is out of control and going downhill. All of this causes the
flight of even more homeowners, thus further deflating property values.
Although normal municipal code enforcement procedures do exist, they
are most effective against those property owners who are already consci­
entious and concerned. They prove cumbersome to implement against
slumlords who retain attorneys to endlessly delay the resolution of a
complaint and see the small fines exacted by the city as part of their cost
of doing business. Using the normal process, years can go by before any
fines are exacted, and even then no improvements of any significance
will have been made.
To counter these difficulties, the city of Fort Lauderdale developed an
innovative code enforcement procedure that has not only proved to be
quick and effective, it has brought in revenue that more than covers the
cost of the program. It is called a code team and works as follows: Using
the State powers given to police to enforce municipal ordinances—that
means powers up to and including arrest—the police are able to issue
warnings stating that code violations are arrestable offenses that can
result in immediate court appearances.
The code team usually includes a building inspector and a police officer
or a fire marshall. In this way, the necessary expertise can be presented
before the court at the same time. Court appearances are usually sched­
uled within 30 days of a recorded violation. Of the 250 violations cited
since the code team went into action in Fort Lauderdale, all 250 have
53
Creating Defensible Space
resulted in fines and corrections. The most notorious city slumlord has
been arrested at his office, handcuffed, and brought before a magistrate.
The city’s fines and the improvements required of the slumlord are put­
ting him out of business.
Another proven method for dealing with property occupied by drug deal­
ers is property confiscation. Both municipal codes and Federal laws per­
mit this action.
Encourage first-time homeownership. Much of the physical decline in
Five Oaks is attributed to the exodus of resident homeowners. Absentee
landlords simply do not maintain their properties. This is particularly
true of two-family houses, where the side-by-side rental units are in the
worst state of repair. Before the decline of Five Oaks, the most common
form of tenure had the owner living in one unit and the renter in the
other. This is no longer so.
The residents of Five Oaks
felt that a city program that
assists people in purchasing
and living in the duplex units
is critical to the rehabilitation
of their neighborhood. The
key to such a program is to
couple assistance for the
downpayment with funds
needed to rehabilitate the unit.
The actual cost of these
duplex units is not high, and
with a readily available loan,
the amount of the down-
Figure II–20:
Residents making
payment is no more than a few thousand dollars. Window and roof
improvements to their
replacement are commonly needed repairs, as are furnace, plumbing,
homes after the creation of
the mini-neighborhoods.
and electric improvements. This rehabilitation can lead to a cost of
$10,000 to $20,000 per duplex. A subsidy for rehabilitation that is tied
to a required residency of 5 to 10 years (with prorated benefits) would be
most advantageous and cost effective in maintaining property values and
the urban tax base. Such a program could also be directed at perspective
purchasers of single-family houses.
54
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
Because many of the purchasers of these duplexes will likely be first-
time homebuyers, a parallel education program that teaches them how to
prioritize repairs and to manage and maintain rental property is essential.
This would also help to ensure that the funds being invested in the pro-
gram will be spent most effectively.
There are various Federal, State, and local programs directed at first-
time homebuyers and at rehabilitation. Local banks have a Federal obli­
gation to participate in local rehabilitation efforts. Dayton devised a
three-point demonstration program to improve distressed properties. It
provides funds to train existing landlords to be better managers; it edu­
cates and provides downpayment assistance to renters who are position­
ing themselves to become homeowners; and it provides interest rate
buydowns and loans for home purchase, rehabilitation, and improve­
ment. The city targeted the Five Oaks community with these programs
immediately after the street closures went into effect.
■ Evaluation of the modifications
An evaluation by the city’s office of management and budget revealed
that within a year of creating the mini-neighborhoods, cut-through traffic
was reduced by 67 percent, overall traffic volume by 36 percent, and
traffic accidents by 40 percent. A survey of 191 residents conducted by
the Social Science Research Center of the University of Dayton showed that
73 percent of residents thought that there was less traffic, but 13 percent saw
no change; 62 percent said there was less noise, but 27 percent saw no
change (Dayton OMB Evaluation, 1994).
The police department found that overall crime had been reduced by
26 percent and violent crime by 50 percent. Robbery, burglary, assault,
and auto theft were found to be the lowest they had been in 5 years. By
comparison, in Dayton overall, crime had increased by 1 percent. The
university survey showed that 53 percent of residents thought there was
less crime, but that 36 percent felt there was no change; 45 percent felt
safer, and 43 percent thought it was as safe as it had been before.
Housing values were up 15 percent in Five Oaks in the first year, versus
4 percent in the region. People’s investment in their homes and property
55
Creating Defensible Space
had substantially increased.
The owners of 75 rental build­
ings and 45 homeowners had
applied for and received city
improvement loans. Others
had gone directly to banks or
financed improvements them-
selves. With the neighborhood
changing and housing values
going up, people found that it
now paid to make improve­
ments: They were no longer
acting alone and knew they
Figure II–21:
would be getting their money
Renter and homeowner
back when they sold the property. A survey found that housing requiring
children playing together in
both major and minor repairs dropped by 45 percent. For the first time in
a cul-de-sac street. The
gates can be seen at rear. many years, houses in the neighborhood were attracting families with
children. There was a 55-percent increase in housing sales during this
same 1-year period.
The University of Dayton’s survey found that 67 percent of residents
thought their neighborhood was a better place to live, while 13 percent
said it had remained about the same; 39 percent said they knew their
neighbors better, while 53 percent said they knew as many as before;
24 percent said it was easier to recognize strangers; and 36 percent were
more involved in the community (that is, through block clubs, civic
activities, neighborhood watches). Most importantly, there was no differ­
ence in these perceptions between African Americans and whites, renters
and homeowners. Drugs, theft from houses and cars, and harassment
were all found to be less of a problem than a year earlier (University of
Dayton, 1994).
The usual complaint about such programs, that they displace crime into the
surrounding neighborhoods, also proved untrue. Crime in all the communi­
ties immediately surrounding Five Oaks decreased by an average of
1.2 percent. The police’s explanation is that criminals and their clients knew
that the residents of Five Oaks have taken control of their streets, but
because they did not know the neighborhood’s exact boundaries, they
moved out of the surrounding communities as well. The positive effects
56
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
in traffic reduction also spilled over into bordering communities as all
of Five Oaks has itself become an obstacle to cut-through traffic. Other
communities in Dayton are now exploring a similar restructuring.
Whether this neighborhood stabilization effort served to deprive low-
income residents of future housing opportunities in Five Oaks is best
answered in this way: The neighborhood to the immediate west of Five
Oaks is virtually identical in physical construction. Its decline preceded
that of Five Oaks by a few years. Nothing was done to stop it. Driving
through it now, one finds that every third house has either been boarded
up or torn down. The community is perceived as being so unsafe that
even white drug buyers will not go into the neighborhood. It is no longer
a desirable place to live for renters or homeowners. Because of the high
rates of abandonment and vacancy, there are fewer low-income renters
per block now than in Five Oaks. So the policy of letting neighborhoods
decline to create rental opportunities for low-income families proves to
be a short-lived one. From the city’s point of view, that neighborhood
now contributes very little to its tax base, and its infrastructure of streets,
water, power, and sewer lines goes wasted.
By comparison, Five Oaks is reducing its vacancies. Its African-Ameri­
can, low-income renters share their streets with middle-income whites.
Their children play together. They benefit from low crime, good schools,
and safe streets and play areas. The quality of municipal services Five
Oaks receives, such as police, fire, snow removal, and garbage collec­
tion, is typical of that enjoyed by middle-income communities that con-
tribute to the city’s tax base. The mutual respect resulting from closer
contact between the different racial and income groups has a positive
effect on everyone. “The bottom line is this,” says Ray Reynolds, the
city’s director of urban development, “if Five Oaks had not adopted its
mini-neighborhood plan, it would have gone the way of its neighbor to
the west.”
Michael R. Turner, the mayor of Dayton, had the following to say after
2 years of observing the changes in Five Oaks:
The Five Oaks neighborhood has been the subject of articles in pro­
fessional journals, the popular press from Newsweek to the Econo­
mist, television shows from The Today Show to Dateline NBC. We
57
Creating Defensible Space
have hosted visitors from a dozen cities and responded to literally
hundreds of requests for information. This attention is a testament to
the search in America for urban solutions that work.
The lesson we learned in Dayton is that when Defensible Space con­
cepts are applied thoughtfully and with complete grassroots involve­
ment, results can make neighborhoods more livable and increase the
sense of community.
Dayton is typical of many mid-sized cities in America: It has lost
many of its major employers; it lost 25 percent of its population
since 1970 (declining from 243,000 in 1970 to 182,000 in 1990); it
has an average income of $22,000/year, compared with the average
income in the county of $32,000/year; its unemployment rate is usu­
ally a couple of points above the national (9.4 percent in 1993).
But Dayton is also a city of world-class innovation, from the Wright
Brothers Flyer to the pop-top can. The Five Oaks Neighborhood Sta­
bilization program is another such innovation.
If your community is considering a Defensible Space plan, pay
attention to the lessons we learned:
1. A high level of citizen participation is critical.
2. Do more than close the streets; make it a comprehensive program:
offer first-time homebuyers loans, target code enforcement efforts,
and use police task forces to flush out the bad elements.
3. Accept some shortcomings. There are going to be a lot of benefits,
but also some traffic inconveniences. It is not like you are starting
from scratch on a fresh site: This is a retrofitting process, and
some of the problems will not have 100-percent solutions.
4. Put some public policy in place: Decide on how the changes to
the streets will be made and paid for; and decide when and for
whom the gates will be opened (for snow plowing, fire and police
emergencies, etc.).
58
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
■ Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood
concept
The creation of mini-neighborhoods will not survive a cookie-cutter
approach: The concept does not lend itself to every situation. In commu­
nities where neighborhood people have tried the concept on their own,
they have often failed. The experience of the highway department initia­
tives in Chicago and Los Angeles are not much better. There are certain
conditions that must be in place and the action must involve the commu­
nity in a particular way to be successful.
Need for a minimal percentage of homeowners. Existing homeowner-
ship is a critical ingredient to the success of mini-neighborhood creation.
I have found that the presence of 40-percent resident homeowners may
prove to be a minimum requirement. This is because in many communi­
ties, renters are normally given only 6-month to 1-year leases. This does
not give them time to develop a commitment to their neighborhood, nor
is there any incentive for them to maintain the house they live in or to
care for its grounds. For us to also expect them to be concerned about
the nature of the activity in the street would be really stretching it.
It might be possible for this 40-percent homeowner minimum to be
reduced if there is a community tradition of renters occupying their units
for periods of 5 years or more, and/or if there is a strong community
identity among renters, coupled with strong social organizations. This
does occur in some cities. In Baltimore, for instance, some renters have
occupied neighborhoods for a few generations and have strong commu­
nal and religious organizations within them. Where this exists, the per-
cent of homeowners could drop to as low as 20 percent, but a first-time
homebuyer’s program should still be made a very active parallel compo­
nent of the mini-neighborhood effort.
Need for a predominance of single-family units. The percentage of
single-family houses versus multifamily housing on each street is also
an important factor. This is because in single-family houses, the front
yard belongs to the family. By closing the street it makes it easy for that
family to extend its realm of concern from its front yard into the street.
Single-family houses include all three categories: fully detached houses,
semidetached houses, and row houses (see the exposition of Defensible
59
Creating Defensible Space
Space principles in chapter I). Each of these three categories of single-
family houses has separate entries facing the street directly off its front yard.
It is not that easy to create mini-neighborhoods in streets composed of
multifamily buildings. The entries to these buildings serve many fami­
lies and are often located at the side rather than facing the street. The
grounds are usually public and not associated with particular families.
Thus residents’ adoption of the closed street as an extension of their
dwellings is not second nature.
Need for quality schools. If a mini-neighborhood program is meant to
attract working- and middle-class families with children, it is necessary
to have good schools in the area. Dayton’s public schools are not highly
regarded. The Five Oaks community had three parochial schools operat­
ing within its boundaries, and 30 percent of the students in these schools
came from the community. Residents felt that the presence of these schools
was a necessary ingredient to the success of the mini-neighborhood effort.
Communities in other cities may not have parochial schools, but a mag-
net school of good quality can serve the same purpose. In some gated
communities in St. Louis, where neither magnet schools nor parochial
schools were in existence, parents participated actively in the local pub­
lic schools to improve performance. They helped purchase books and
supplies, and ran special music, art, and sports programs.
It should be remembered that one of the appeals of inner-city mini-
neighborhoods is the quality housing available at low cost in comparison
with the suburbs. But the price for that is the need to supplement the cost of
local schooling, either through the use of parochial schools or through active
participation on the part of residents in making local schools better.
Need for mini-neighborhoods to reflect people’s perceptions. It is criti­
cal that residents from every street participate in the planning process
and define their own mini-neighborhoods. This can be a time-consuming
process that many cities would prefer to avoid. In cities where the high-
way departments designed the street closures without community
involvement, the results have often been pointless.
Working with local institutions. In creating mini-neighborhoods, it is
important to work closely with the institutions in the area. The schools,
60
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
hospitals, and universities can be a real resource in many ways. They
usually have a stronger commitment to the neighborhood than individual
homeowners. They are also in a position to subsidize their staff to buy
homes in the community.
I try to hold my community meetings in hospitals and schools and invite
the principals of these institutions to attend so that they too can help
shape the plan and make it theirs. In Dayton, the plan I prepared made it
easy for the hospital staff, ambulances, and patients to come and go. But
after I left, the community modified that portion of the plan and, by so
doing, antagonized the hospital staff. The city then had to tear down
these gates and revert to my original plan. The lesson again is: Everyone
must participate in the planning process from beginning to end.
Race and the attitude toward mini-neighborhoods. Most of my work in
creating mini-neighborhoods has been in racially and economically
mixed communities, but I have also worked in all-African-American
communities of varying income levels. Where the residents of these
communities were working and middle class, they proved to be as strong
advocates of mini-neighborhoods as whites of similar incomes in pre-
dominantly white communities. They understood very clearly that these
mechanisms would enable them to keep the local gangs under control
and the drug dealers and prostitutes out.
The most difficult communities I have found to work in are those that
are about 70-percent African American that are undergoing rapid transi­
tion. In these situations, some African-American residents perceive the
proposed gates as a device for either locking them in or locking them
out. When I point out that some of the most expensive communities in
their city and suburbs are gated, they scoff, saying: What has that to do
with us? African Americans in this country do have a history of being
excluded, so their position is understandable. However, by totally refus­
ing to entertain such a solution, they are depriving themselves of a
simple and effective means of making their communities safer and free
of traffic.
A bit into the process, I discovered that African-American opposition in
communities undergoing transition often came from people who did not
actually live in the community but were hoping to buy into it given that
61
Creating Defensible Space
housing prices were falling. Because of this situation, they did not want
a program that would interrupt the trend. They did not enjoy hearing me
say: “We’re going to make this community more attractive to home-
owners; and housing prices are going to jump by 20 to 30 percent.” In
self-defense, one of the things I learned to do was ask people to identify
themselves and give their address in the community before they spoke.
That put their criticism in perspective. But in truth, one cannot stabilize
a neighborhood for homeowners and increase property values on the one
hand, without also making it more expensive for some people to buy into
on the other.
When working in one neighborhood, one is open to criticism of favorit­
ism from various other neighborhoods throughout a city. It is important
for a city, therefore, to target African-American and Hispanic-American
communities as well as predominantly white communities for Defensible
Space modifications. In Dayton, I prepared plans for the modification of a
public housing project as well as for Five Oaks. In this way it cannot be
said that the city’s security programs are being directed only at middle-
income families. In fact, I was told that Five Oaks was selected to be the
first test of the mini-neighborhood concept in Dayton just because it was
50/50 African American and white. City officials feared that if it were a
predominantly white community, their choice would have been severely
criticized and implementing the modifications would have been made
difficult.
Criticism from resident drug dealers and others. In some communities,
drug dealers prove to be the wealthiest residents and often own the big­
gest houses. Needless to say, they feel very threatened by my proposals,
but they will rarely get up and talk for themselves. Instead, they have
well-spoken friends give long dissertations on the evil of gates and the
removal of freedom of access and association, which is the “American
way.” When I reply that my experience has shown that mini-neighborhoods
actually serve to bring people out of hiding and encourage them to interact
with each other, they boo me. When I ask what evidence they can point to
that shows that people living on open streets interact more readily, or
interact across the urban spectrum, they are silent. (So, for that matter,
are my critics from academia.) Our study in St. Louis compared closed
streets with open streets and found a significant difference in residents’
knowledge of their neighbors (Newman, Grandin, Wayno, 1974).
62
Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks, Dayton, Ohio
The police can be very useful in helping one learn about the relationship
of community critics with drug dealers and slumlords. Let me hasten to
say though that not everyone objecting to mini-neighborhoods on philo­
sophical grounds is either a drug dealer or slumlord. Certainly, my crit­
ics from academia are not.
In some communities, including public housing projects, drug dealers
are so omnipresent, they literally run the community and are strong con­
tributors to the local economy. They provide young children with jobs as
runners and subsidize the rents of seniors for the use of their apartments
in which to hide their stash or to manufacture drugs. I have seen college-
educated women at meetings speak of drug dealers as a financial boon to
the community, oblivious to the fact that these same drug dealers have
hooked resident teenagers on drugs and turned some of them into prostitutes.
In such communities, concerned residents will also stand up and say,
“You don’t understand the situation here. Drug dealers run this place.
These gates are just going to enable them to further assert their control.”
That assessment may be correct: Mini-neighborhoods may not work
there. Mini-neighborhoods only work where the people who do not want
crime feel that they are the majority and that this mechanism will give
them the control of their neighborhood they seek. But if they feel that
the neighborhood is no longer theirs, they are right not to support the
concept.
63
C H A P T E R
The Clason Point Experiment
THREE
Row-house communities account for one-fifth of all public housing in the
United States. Many medium-size cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and
Washington, D.C., have a significant number of row-house developments, and
in smaller cities like Indianapolis, Fort Worth, and Oklahoma City, public hous­
ing for families with children was primarily built as row houses. From a Defen­
sible Space point of view, this was a good first step because developers created
housing with no interior public spaces. However, many of these projects prevent
residents from controlling the spaces outside their homes because the units were
so poorly positioned on their grounds.
Most residents come to public housing with no previous experience of maintain­
ing a home of their own. Few have ever had the opportunity of identifying the
land outside their home as their own. Housing management knows this history,
but rather than adopt a policy of guiding residents toward the assumption of
responsibility, most authorities assume that their residents are inadequate to the
task and accept the notion of their dependency.
I became interested in testing this basic assumption early in my Defensible
Space work and looked for the opportunity of dividing up and assigning the
previously public grounds of a housing project to individual residents. I wanted
to learn whether residents would adopt these areas as their own and assume
responsibility for maintaining and securing them. Actually, I had even greater
hopes that after this reassignment of grounds, residents would look out their
windows and see the public street, not as a distant environment, but as an exten­
sion of their own private lawns, and, therefore, under their sphere of influence
and scrutiny.
My second interest in this experiment was to provide low-income residents, in their
successful efforts in improving the grounds around their own homes, with living
testament to the success and permanence of their individual efforts. Finally, I hoped
that this success would change the attitudes of housing management about resi­
dents’ ability to affect change and take control.
65
Creating Defensible Space
The opportunity to radically redesign the grounds of a row-house project
and to reassign it to residents was given me by the New York City
Housing Authority in 1969. I say, given to me, but it took a great deal
of convincing. After I had prepared the plans for the modification of the
project, the authority changed its mind and withdrew its support. This
was because they had made a recent decision to tear it down and build
highrises on the site. I begged and pleaded, but to no avail. I finally had
to go to our research sponsor, the U.S. Department of Justice, to ask
them to intervene on our behalf. The housing authority acquiesced, and I
am endlessly grateful to them. For what would have been the impact of
my first Defensible Space writings without Clason Point? I tell this story
only to prepare those who would follow me for the struggles they face.
The management of the New York City Housing Authority used to say
that I knew exactly how hard the floors of their building were from hav­
ing been bounced off them so many times.
Although I have modified many row-house projects since Clason
Point—and many have proven even more successful—I chose to use
Clason Point here, as the example of this kind of work, because it was an
important first step, and there were many things I did wrong that are
worth pointing out.
Clason Point is a 400-unit pub­
lic housing project located in
the South Bronx, a compara­
tively high-crime area of the
city of New York. It consists
of 46 buildings that mostly
contain row houses. Smaller
walkup units for seniors are
located at the ends of some
buildings. At 25 units per acre,
this is a dense project by row-
house standards. Such a high
density was achieved by limiting
Figure III–1:
off-street parking to 0.15 spaces
Clason Point as seen from per unit.
street, before modifications.
Note the overflowing
garbage dumpster at left.
66
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
The project was built as
munitions workers’ housing
during World War II when
few people had cars. It was
constructed of exposed ce­
ment block in an army bar-
racks fashion. Although it
was supposed to have been
torn down after the war, the
housing authority kept it run­
ning until 1969, which is
when I first learned about it.
The project was then suffer­
ing a 30-percent vacancy rate
because of its rundown condition. Its open, unkempt grounds and the un­
finished, cement block buildings made it stand out against the surround­
ing streets of privately owned, red-brick row houses. The project bore the
stigma of public housing, and public housing meant that it was owned by the
public and residents’ rights were confined to the interior of their units. One
had the impression that intrusion by strangers would go unchallenged.
Thirty-two percent of the project was occupied by elderly whites,
29 percent by African-American families, and 24 percent by Puerto
Rican families. Intergenerational and interracial conflict was common
on the undefined public grounds. Interviews I conducted with residents
revealed that they were fearful of being victimized by criminals, both
during the day and in the evening; they had severely changed or cur-
tailed their patterns of activity as a result of the new presence of gangs
and drug dealers; and they felt they had no right to question strangers as
a means of anticipating and preventing crimes.
Teenagers from surrounding streets used the grounds as a congregation
area, instilling fear and anger in many Clason Point residents. To better
understand how residents perceived the project, I asked them to draw
maps of those areas they thought most dangerous. Most residents drew
the same kind of map. The only area they thought safe was the one
immediately around their home. Everyone also declared the public
open space in the center of the project as the most dangerous.
Figure III–2:
Interior grounds of Clason
Point before modifications.
67
Creating Defensible Space
The housing authority had a small mod­
ernization budget available for improving
the project. It was slated for adding a
stucco surface to the cement block to
reduce penetration of cold air, replacing
the roofing and boilers, and adding a little
play equipment. I hoped we could stretch
these dollars significantly to change the
look and function of the entire project.
The physical modifications I planned for
Clason Point had these goals:
■ To increase the proprietary feelings
of residents by subdividing and
assigning much of the public grounds
to the control of individual families
and small groupings of families
through the use of real and symbolic
Figure III-3:
Composite of fear maps
produced by residents.
fencing.
■ To reduce the number of pedestrian routes throughout the project so
as to limit access and to intensify the use of the remaining walks.
Only those walks that passed in front of the units would remain in
use, and these would be widened to allow them to be used for play
and sitting areas. New lighting would be added to improve visibility
and to extend the use of the walks into the evening.
■ To intensify tenants’ surveillance of the grounds by giving them a
greater identification with the grounds.
■ To improve the image of the project by resurfacing the exterior of
the existing cement-block building and by further identifying indi­
vidual units through the use of varying colors and resurfacing materials.
■ To reduce intergenerational conflict among residents within the
project by assigning specific areas for each group to use.
68
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
■ Redefinition of grounds
Using 6-foot-high fencing that
looked like iron, but was actually
inexpensive hollow tubular steel, I
created real barriers to define and
secure the rear yard areas. The
number of families grouped in
each rear yard cluster was deter-
mined by the existing layout of
buildings. The clusters ranged from
as few as 12 dwellings per cluster to
as many as 40.
The 6-foot fence defined 50 percent of the previously public grounds
located at the rear of the units for the private use of individual families.
The low concrete curbing, placed adjacent to the public walk in front of
the units, served to redefine an additional 30 percent of the public
grounds as private front lawn. These were symbolic barriers. It should
be noted that both the fencing
Figure III–4:
Six-foot-high tubular steel
fencing defines the
collective rear yards of
residents, allowing them to
place picnic tables and
other outdoor furnishings
there for the first time.
and curbing only defined collec­
tive areas, not individual front or
rear yards. If residents desired to
further define the boundaries of
their own front or rear yards,
they had to install their own
individual side fencing. Most of
the residents chose to do so after
the first year.
To improve the usefulness of
pedestrian walks and to attract
residents to them, I designed a
combination planter-seating-
lighting element that would be placed in the center of the walk at inter­
vals of about 40 feet. This new, decorative lighting served both to high-
light the main public walk and to make the benches usable at night. The
lighting also improved residents’ surveillance potential and resulting
feelings of security.
Figure III–5:
Collective front yards are
defined by the new concrete
curbing. A new combination
lighting, seating, and planter
helps residents use and
identify with the central walk.
69
Creating Defensible Space
A small battle ensued with the
housing authority about the
decorative lighting. They had
never allowed themselves to
use anything like it before.
They found my lights too low
and too delicate, and therefore
too vulnerable to vandalism.
Their rule was to provide
highway-type lighting fixtures
that were so high they could
not be easily reached. These
had plastic covers that could
Figure III–6:
withstand being hit by stones.
Vandalized tiles and
I argued that the residents would take pride in the new fixtures with their
mailboxes in a highrise.
spherical glass globes and would not want to vandalize them. The hous­
ing authority again acquiesced—against their better judgment—but the
new fixtures looked glorious at night. They provided a row of soft,
domestic scale lighting that
showed the way to the front
doors of the units. The new
lighting was not vandalized.
Housing authorities some-
times get into an escalating
spiral by advocating vandal-
resistant products. These
products are so institutional
looking, one expects to
see them in prisons. As an
example, I cite the large yellow
tiles that are commonly used
Figure III–7:
Small play nodes—as little
as a basketball hoop and an
adjacent bench—are
located to serve small
clusters of residents.
in corridors (figure III–6).
These materials are an unflattering reflection of the residents. They are
so demeaning, they invite vandalism. Of course, once they are vandal­
ized, the housing authority embarks on a new search to find even more
70
-
~ .
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
vandal-resistant, and inevitably, uglier materials to replace them. At
Clason Point, I broke out of that cycle by saying, with my fixtures, that
the residents were special. The quality of the fixtures reflected on the
residents. They evoked pride and care. The residents did not want to see
them vandalized.
At selected intersections along the primary paths, I created play nodes
for young children and teenagers. I put benches next to these play areas
to allow other children and adults to sit and watch the play activity.
■ Resurfacing of buildings
As part of the effort to remove
the public housing image of
Clason Point, I opted for a
slightly more expensive resur­
facing treatment that would
make the stucco look like brick
and stonework. This finish
could be applied in a range of
different colors, and rather than
choose the color combinations
myself, as most architects
would insist on doing, I had the
contractor put up a wall of
samples and let individual ten-
Figure III–8:
ants come and select their own colors. This became an event out of all
Wall of samples showing
proportion to its significance. Entire families came out together to stand
residents the range of wall
surfaces and colors
before the sample wall to debate among themselves and with their neigh-
available to choose from for
bors what colors would be best for the units in their row house. This was their units.
exactly the kind of involvement with, and commitment to, the improve­
ments I was looking for.
I hoped that resident involvement in the process would increase their
sense of individuality and proprietorship and that this would not only
result in greater care and maintenance but in increased watchfulness and
greater potency in dealing with gangs and drug dealers.
71
Creating Defensible Space
Figure III–9:
The central area at Clason ■ Redevelopment of the central area
Point before modifications.
This area was identified by
In the premodification interviews, tenants identified the central area as
residents and police as the
the most dangerous part of the project. This, they claimed, was where
most dangerous of the
pushers congregated, where neighborhood addicts came to meet connec­
project.
tions, and where one was sure to be mugged at night. On further obser­
vation, I found that the area was also used by teenagers, of both sexes,
who congregated in one corner of the square after school. Younger chil­
dren would occasionally throw a ball around here, but because the
ground was uneven, intensive ball playing was difficult.
As Clason Point was almost devoid of play and sitting areas, I decided
to transform this no-man’s land into an intensive community recreation
area for all age groups. By peopling it with young children, parents,
teenagers, and the elderly, I felt the residents could expunge the drug
dealers. Because this central area was also located at the intersection of
a few of the newly created walks, I thought I could turn it into a heavily
travelled, well congregated, and inviting area by treating it with the
same lighting, play equipment, and seating I had provided elsewhere.
72
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
As the area was to serve
three different age
groups, I tried to create
three zones that would
each have a different
look and character. I
designed the area for the
elderly in a conservative,
orderly, and restrained
manner. In contrast, the
teenage area was designed
using curvilinear patterns,
intense colors, and large
bold rocks. These two
areas, representing the
prime contenders at any
housing project, were separated by a large, defined central play area for
younger children.
I had hoped that all this activ­
ity would transform this dor-
Figure III–10:
Plan for the conversion of
the central area into a
facility serving, from left to
right, the elderly, young
children, and teens.
mant and frightening area into
the most alive and safe area of
the entire project—that it
would become the new focus
of Clason Point.
I had hoped, too, that my first
step in defining the collective
front and rear ground areas
would encourage residents to
further define them into their
own individual yards. Would
they see the opportunity to
install their own side fences and plant grass and shrubs? The housing
authority certainly had no intention of doing that. As it was, they saw the
new curbs and fencing as barriers to their large mowers.
Figure III–11:
The central area as modified.
Note that the extended front
yards of neighboring homes
now border the central area,
bringing more under
residents’ control.
73
Creating Defensible Space
I anticipated that once
residents realized that no
one else had access to these
areas, they would begin to
place their own things in
them. This would make them
possessive of them, and they
would begin to take care of
and guard over them. This
proved to be the case.
Figure III–12:
Revised plan of Clason
Point showing 90 percent
of the grounds assigned to
individual families.
But I also created areas requiring joint maintenance that were assigned to
groups of 8 to 12 families. These had little to no success. They were only
cared for when one adjacent family took it upon itself to do so. If that area
was then misused by another adjacent family, the family that was taking care
of it abandoned their effort. The lesson here is: Try to subdivide all the
grounds and assign every scrap of it to individual families.
The reassignment of public grounds was undertaken with the intention
of expanding the domain that residents felt they controlled and in which
they felt they had the right to expect accountability from strangers. I
theorized that this reassignment would lead residents to watch the users
of the grounds and walks more carefully and to set up in their own
minds expectations about what kind of behavior would be acceptable in
these areas. As a psychologist on my staff put it, “This reorganization of
grounds will set up a dependent relationship between spatial organization
and social expectations, and we should find that the informal expectations on
the part of residents will become more exacting and differentiated. By elimi­
nating the functionless no-man’s land that no resident can control, we should
also reduce crime and fear of crime. Tenants should feel they now had the
right to impose social controls and pressures on strangers and neighbors.” I
could not have put it better myself.
■ Effectiveness of the modifications
The first year after the modifications took place at Clason Point, the resi­
dents raked the topsoil of the grounds in front of their homes and planted
the grass seed that was made available to them by the housing authority.
74
«.OON !'OINT O.'DIN' _,_0,._.
- _ . _ ~ -
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
To the surprise of many resi­
dents, the grass came up in
abundance, and the ground
surface changed from
packed dirt to a carpet of
green.
Residents then began to
demarcate their own front
and rear yards by putting up
smaller, intervening fences—
in many instances, the better
to distinguish their patch of
success from their neighbors’
Figure III–13:
inadequate efforts. View of internal walk at
Clason Point before
modifications.
Not to be outdone, unsuccessful residents plowed up the hard ground
once again, added mulch which was again made available by the hous­
ing authority, and reseeded more carefully. In fact, they had acquired the
knack of putting in seed,
watering, and fertilizing by
watching their successful
neighbors do it. To the
delight of those residents
new to gardening, the grass
came up by itself in the
spring of the second year and
was even more lush than the
year before. This prompted
residents to invest in small
shrubs, trees, flowers, and
garden furniture.
Now there may be those who
will wonder at what I have just described and, perhaps, take offense at it.
Was this whole effort no more than a gardening course for public hous­
ing residents? I have even been accused of implying that low-income
African Americans don’t know how to grow grass. The whole exercise,
of course, has nothing to do with gardening; it has to do with providing
Figure III–14:
View of the same internal
walk as in figure III–13 after
modifications and
residents’ response with
planting and further
demarcation.
75
Creating Defensible Space
BEFORE
AFTER
people with the opportu­
nity of taking control of
the space and activities
outside their dwellings,
with giving them an
environment to live in that
enhances their self-image
and evokes pride, and
finally to allow them the
opportunity to themselves
improve their space so that
their identity with it is re­
inforced. The bottom line
is that by subdividing and
assigning all the previ­
ously public grounds to
individual families, we
have removed it from the
gangs and drug dealers.
In the third year after the
modifications, the small
shrubs had grown a few
feet and the perennial
flowers had expanded
their root system and
Figure III–15:
come up in abundance.
Before and after Residents now began to expand their concerns beyond their own front
photographs of an area of
yard to the public sidewalks and concrete planter in the center of the
Clason Point. The original
layout provided no grounds
walk. On a systematic basis, residents began to sweep the public side-
in the front of units for
walks in front of their homes, particularly when it appeared as if the
individual residents. In our
authority’s maintenance staff were derelict in their duties. Residents had
site redesign, the central
green area, which was
begun to see the public sidewalks as an extension of their dwellings.
largely neglected, was
removed and residents were
We had anticipated that the residents’ new assumption of grounds care
given their own front yards,
which they quickly
would meet with a positive response from the housing authority mainte­
improved. A play node is nance staff because it would decrease their workload. The opposite was
shown at front left.
the case. The staff complained that the new curbing, fencing, and
concrete planters prevented them from using their power equipment; too
76
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
much work would now have to be done by hand. A few months after the
completion of the modifications, the grounds supervisor at Clason Point
put in for additional manpower to handle his new workload. We were
informed of his request by an anxious director of housing management
who had also hoped that the grounds modifications would reduce their
workload. I suggested a site visit.
Following a site visit, the central office concluded that, if anything, the
grounds staff could be cut back. This decision was not implemented
immediately, however, for fear of antagonizing the union. The response
of the grounds staff was to slow down their performance and allow
garbage and litter to accumulate in the public walks and at the garbage
dumpsters. Residents responded by cleaning up some of the sidewalks
and dumpster areas themselves, for the first time in the history of the
project. The slowdown by
grounds maintenance person­
nel continued for 6 months
and was finally resolved
when the housing authority
replaced the grounds staff
supervisor with one who felt
comfortable with a policy that
allowed residents to care for
the grounds themselves. The
supervisor, in turn, redirected
his staff’s activity toward the
maintenance of the public
walks and play facilities. The
following year, the project’s
grounds maintenance staff was cut in half and the extra men moved to a
neighboring project.
The overall crime rate in the development (including breach of housing
authority rules) dropped by 54 percent in the first year. The premodification
monthly average overall crime rate at Clason Point was 6.91 crimes per
1,000 residents and the postmodification average was 3.16 crimes per
1,000 residents. The average monthly burglary rate per year dropped
from 5.15 per 1,000 residents to 3.71, a 28 percent change. The average
monthly robbery rate dropped from 1.95 per 1,000 to 0.
Figure III–16:
The 6-foot fencing that
defined the collective rear
yards stimulated individual
residents to further define
their own individual rear
yards. This removed much
of the overall grounds of
the project from access by
criminals and gangs. It also
limited the movement of
those criminals who lived
within a rear yard cluster.
77
Creating Defensible Space
The average monthly assault rate dropped from 0.53 per 1,000 to 0.31,
a 42 percent change. The number of felonies during evening and night-
time hours decreased by more than one-half. For the serious crime
categories—burglary, robbery, and assault—the average crime rate
was reduced by 61.5 percent.
The percentage of people who felt they had a right to question strangers
on the project grounds increased from 27 to 50 percent. Residents’ fear
of crime was reduced even more dramatically than the actual crime rates
and, for the first time in years, most residents said they had little fear of
walking through the project grounds at night.
The project, which was 30 percent vacant before the modifications, not
only achieved full occupancy, it acquired a waiting list of hundreds of
applicants.
■ Learning from experience
Perhaps the most serious mistake I made was allowing the existing
arrangement of buildings to determine the size of the collective rear
yard groupings. Residents in the larger groupings had difficulty keeping
the gates to their collective rear yard area locked. There was also more
uniformity in the quality of maintenance of rear yards in the smaller
clusters than in the larger. Had I realized how much variation would oc­
cur with the size of the cluster, I could have subdivided the larger clus­
ters simply by running a 6-foot fence across them, and thus cut them in
two. Whether to save the cost of a fence or from oversight, I had forgot-
ten my own basic rule: the smaller the number of families that share an
area, the greater the felt responsibility for maintaining and securing it, and
the easier it is for people to agree on mutually acceptable rules for using it.
The most successful play and recreation areas proved to be the small
nodes I provided to serve a small and distinct group of residents. The
large central play area initially attracted a large population from all over
the project—adults, children, and the elderly—and they did succeed in
driving out the drug dealers. However, the large size of the area also pro­
duced turf conflict between the residents living immediately adjacent to
it and those coming from the other end of the project. This soon resulted
in the vandalizing of equipment by the distant residents who, at times,
78
Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment
felt excluded. If they could
not use it, no one would. It
was also a mistake to try to
create three zones within the
one area to serve teenagers,
young children, and elderly.
The elderly soon found them-
selves overwhelmed and
threatened by teenagers, even
in the area specifically de-
signed for them: that is, the
one containing the formally
designed checker tables and
benches.
Figure III–17:
Play node for young children: a
The lesson to be learned from this is that if one has the opportunity of plac-
sandbox and a climber located to
serve a small cluster of families.
ing 10 pieces of play equipment in a housing development, it is better to put
Note how the new 6-foot fencing
1 piece of equipment in each of 10 areas so that it is there for the specific use has prompted residents to
of a particular group of residents, than to group all 10 pieces in 1 central
produce gardens in their rear
yards at left and the new curbing
public area for the use of all residents.
to create their own front yards.
Figure III–18:
Aerial view of a small portion of
Clason Point showing how 6-foot
fencing was installed to create
collective rear yards and curbing
to define front yards. Note the
location of the play node serving a
small cluster of families.
79
C H A P T E R
Dispersed, Scattered-Site
FOUR
Public Housing in Yonkers
In 1985, the city of Yonkers,
in a nationally prominent
civil rights case, was found
guilty by the Federal court
(Southern District of New
York) of severely segregating
its public and assisted hous­
ing. Some 6,000 units had
been concentrated into the
city’s older, southwest sec­
tion—an area one-eighth the
size of the entire city. Twenty
thousand people lived in this
housing; the remaining
seven-eighths of the city
housed only 80,000 people,
or four times as many.
The existing public housing
projects had been built as
large, high-density highrises
and walkups, ranging in size
from 278 units to 550 units.
They were located only a few
blocks away from each other,
producing a very high overall
concentration of low-income,
minority population. The
remedy, no more than a token
really, required that 200 new units be built in the white, middle-class areas
of the city that had previously excluded public housing.
Figure IV–1:
Map of Yonkers showing the
concentration of public and
assisted housing in downtown
southwest Yonkers and the
location of the seven new
scattered-site projects.
81
CITY OF YON KE12.5
••7 -,!"¢",d - sitt
in east Yonk(i:r:s
r:J . asslsn,d
I'n ,5ouihw,c..st Yonkers
2
o
'" o
.,
j;
Creating Defensible Space
After stalling for much too
long, the city was told to
appoint an outsider to direct
the construction of the man-
dated housing. I was selected
in a process I will describe
shortly, and used the occasion
to apply the principles I had
evolved in the Clason Point
project to the construction of
the housing.
Yonkers is the first suburb one
encounters driving north from
New York City. It dates from the turn of the century when it functioned
as a factory town. Its older, urban downtown, situated on the cliffs over
the Hudson River, is where the public housing was
Figure IV–2:
Existing public housing in
Yonkers: the School Street
project.
concentrated. This urban core is surrounded by a
mix of suburban areas ranging from modest single-
family houses on small lots to large mansions on
one-half-acre lots. The entire city is only 6 miles
long by 3 miles wide and is interlaced with high-
ways serving the suburbs to the north. Sprinkled
along these highways are stretches of old and new,
privately owned highrise apartments occupied by
white working- and middle-class families.
During the period of the court case, Yonkers’ public
housing projects, like many throughout the country,
were known for housing drug dealers and prosti­
tutes. The projects were also said to be the cause of
much of the crime in their surrounding communi­
ties. Many of the criminals who lived in the
projects were little more than children. Teenagers
carried automatic weapons openly and were often
bold enough to screen people who came and went to make sure they
were not police.
Figure IV–3:
Map showing the location
of Yonkers relative to New
York City. Also shown is the
location of the Clason Point
project in the south Bronx.
82
WES-rCHE.S,..e:Q...
COUftJ,TY
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
The public housing residents
who were to move into these
200 new units were to have
the same profile as the exist­
ing residents—that is, more
than half would have public
assistance as their source of
income, most of these being
AFDC families. The residents
of the new housing were to be
chosen by lottery on a 50/50
basis from existing public hous­
ing tenants who wished to move
into the new housing and from
a waiting list of potential tenants.
After a 6-year trial and an additional 7 years of the city fighting me
every step of the way, the scattered-site housing is now in place without
any of the dire consequences predicted by its opponents. It did not intro­
duce crime into the middle-
class neighborhoods, it did not
Figure IV–4:
Aerial view of east Yonkers
showing typical suburban
housing and the Catholic
seminary. The dense public
housing of southwest
Yonkers can be seen at
the back.
reduce property values, and it
did not produce white flight. It
is a solution that is already
becoming a model for cities
across the country who wish
either to voluntarily desegre­
gate their public housing or are
under court order to do so.
Yonkers residents are a mix­
ture of ethnic and religious
groups: Irish, Italian, Polish,
Jewish, African, and Hispanic
Americans—each of whom
wears their heritage proudly. This has produced a rich and exciting city
with a multitude of churches, social centers, ethnic restaurants, food stores,
and bars. Each ethnic group further reinforced its identity and political
strength by concentrating itself in its own distinctive geopolitical ward. In
Figure IV–5:
Existing public housing in
Yonkers: the Schlobohm
project.
83
Creating Defensible Space
the past, this ward structure
had proven useful in serving
the narrow interests of each
ethnic group. However, it
proved devastating by prevent­
ing the city as a whole from
acting in its greater good by
quickly responding to the
original segregation complaint.
Much of the city’s resistance
to implementing the 200-unit
remedy stemmed from
Figure IV–6:
everyone’s assumption that it
Existing public housing in would be built along the lines of the existing public housing. Two years
Yonkers: Mulford Gardens.
after the Federal court decision was issued, the city had yet to locate a
single site or prepare a single housing plan. At that point, the plaintiffs
petitioned the court to inform the city that if it could not act on its own
behalf to implement the remedy, it would either face costly daily fines or
be required to appoint an outside housing advisor to do the work that no
politicians or city employees could allow themselves to do—that is, find
the sites and prepare the plans for the housing. Admitting, finally, that it
would be political or professional suicide for anyone to do this work, the
city, under a deadline from the court, set about finding a housing advisor.
They gave me the job, but not for reasons I cared for.
Prior to my appointment as housing advisor, the plaintiffs in the case
(the U.S. Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)) had
identified two former school sites they wanted used for the public hous­
ing. A highrise complex was to be put on the larger of the two sites and a
three-story walkup on the other. The city objected, saying that this would
be a replication of the physical construct of the existing public housing
projects in southwest Yonkers and would serve to destabilize the sur­
rounding neighborhoods. The plaintiffs replied that this was further
evidence of the city’s racism, and they did not care for the city’s notion
of what constituted destabilization.
84
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
After interviewing a dozen
candidates, the mayor and the
city council chose me to do
the work because in my plan­
ning books, Defensible Space
and Community of Interest, I
had advocated an approach to
racial and economic integra­
tion that would not destabilize
the host middle-income com­
munity. Otherwise, I had
argued, what would be the
long-term benefits to the pub­
lic housing residents? In my
interviews with the city I had stated that, on the basis of my past
research, I would advocate the use of townhouses in a scattered-site for-
mat. That is, I would scatter the units throughout the white, middle-class
areas of the city rather than concentrate them in one or two specific sites
as was proposed by the plaintiffs.
I had thought that this was why I was selected, but I later learned that the
city was secretly hoping that once I became familiar with the crime pro­
blems in the existing public housing complexes in southwest Yonkers
and then saw the pastoral beauty of the middle-class suburban settings of
the rest of Yonkers, I would appeal to the court to modify its ruling. This
was, of course, not facing reality—a problem that plagued Yonkers from
the beginning of these proceedings. This delusion on the part of the city
was surprising, because in my interviews, I had made clear that although
I would ensure that the housing would be built using Defensible Space
principles, I also felt obligated to ensure that it would, in fact, be built.
When it became clear that I was making progress in selecting sites and
getting the housing built as promised, the city countered by refusing to
pay me. After three months of non-payment, the Federal court decided
that I would henceforth work for the court rather than the city, and
ordered the city to pay me on threat of contempt.
Figure IV–7:
Typical site plan for
a 12-unit site.
85
Creating Defensible Space
■ Design principles
By locating the 200 public housing
units on 7 sites in Yonkers, I had
hoped to limit the number of units
at any 1 site to a maximum of 24.
This decision came out of my re-
search that showed that crime in-
creased with the number of units in a
housing project. I also planned to de-
sign the housing to look like that of
the surrounding community so as to
make it unnoticeable.
The city had said it could not
implement the remedy because
Figure IV–8:
Typical site plan for
a 24-unit site.
there were no sites available. I used
a variety of techniques to tease out
new sites: I reviewed the city’s annual report to the State listing all tax
exempt property. This enabled me to identify all city, State, and Federal
owned land and buildings—including empty buildings, such as
schools—that might be used for housing. I used aerial photographs to lo­
cate all empty parcels and then flew over the entire city with a helicopter
to view them for suitability. I examined listings of all State, city, and
county park land to determine which parks were not being used. With
these techniques, I was able to locate more than 20 sites that were suit-
able for the remedy. Most of these sites were owned by the city, enabling
me to avoid the purchase price and the delay of acquiring the land from
private owners. Private land is scarce and expensive in the middle-class
areas of Yonkers.
But the court made the error of allowing the city to reject some of my
sites, and the city rejected those that lay within the domain of the most
vociferous and demonstrative of opponent groups, the Save Yonkers
Federation. This was because no politician felt he would survive
re-election if he defied this group. As it was, a different mayor was
elected every 2 years during this period, with the hope that someone
would succeed in defying the court. During the heyday of its defiance,
the city went so far as to elect a mayor because he had promised to hire the
86
CL.6.RK STRE:ET
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LORING "Vt;;fiUE_
-------------- ----:, \
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
most expensive lawyers available and to lie down in front of the bulldozers
himself to stop the housing from being constructed. The city spent more
on attorneys’ fees to stop the housing than I spent on building it—more
than $20 million. The mayor put on a good show but succeeded in stop-
ping nothing. He was not re-elected.
The city was nevertheless successful in rejecting many of my sites, even
to the point of putting undue pressure on the Cardinal of New York to
get him to back down from a site I had selected on an outlying portion of
the seminary property. In the end, I was left with only seven sites. And
because of this, I was forced to put as many as 48 units on 1 site and 44
on another. Their comparatively large size meant that these two sites
would have to have their own internal street systems, at increased cost.
But more importantly, I would not be able to make them disappear into
the fabric of the city’s neighborhoods. I was also worried that their isola­
tion from surrounding middle-class housing would allow a criminal
subculture to materialize and flourish that the public housing residents,
alone, could not control. Strangely, the city preferred that I choose a few
large, isolated sites rather than many, small sites that were integrated into
the community. That way, argued the city, fewer areas would be con­
taminated by the contact. They could not understand my argument: the
smaller the site and the greater the contact, the more the middle-class
neighbors would be able to exert their values and control.
In an endeavor to win communities over to the scattered-site plan I was
advocating, I systematically met with community and religious leaders
in every affected neighborhood of Yonkers. This led to requests for me to
give formal presentations to general meetings of a few hundred resi­
dents. Some of these meetings were rowdy, but many were quite civil
and allowed for a good exchange of ideas. I explained that I was there to
implement the remedy in the best way I could, and was seeking the
community’s assistance in doing so. But many residents attempted to
re-argue the court case in front of me. I told them the case could not be
reopened. At one meeting, feelings ran so high, I finally had to say:
“Hold it a second. Look!” I walked over to the nearest wall bordering the
auditorium stage, raised my fist, and pounded it three times as hard as I
could. The noise from the pounding thundered through the auditorium.
People went totally silent. I returned to the microphone and, holding my
87
Creating Defensible Space
hand in the air with obvious
pain, said: “That wall is the
Justice Department. And this
fist is you. All you are doing
with your high-priced lawyers
in revisiting the case, is injur­
ing yourselves. It is time to let
it go and help me find a rem­
edy that will work to every-
one’s benefit.”
I do not know how useful
these meetings were. After a
while, the vociferous ele­
ments in the city made it a
practice to come and disrupt every such community meeting. In some
instances, the police had to escort me out for my own protection. I
stopped holding them.
Figure IV–9:
Typical site plan for a
48-unit site.
The second Defensible
Space design directive I
used was to insist that
the housing have no
indoor or outdoor areas
that were public. All
areas of each unit and
site would be assigned
for the specific, private
use of individual fami­
lies. This is why I chose
two-story row houses as
our building type rather
than two-story walkups that have interior public areas. This decision in­
volved a major dispute with the regional office of HUD that advocated
the use of walkups, if not highrises.
The grounds of each site were to be fully subdivided and assigned to
individual units. Each family was to have its own front and rear yard,
and the front entry to each unit was to be located directly off the street.
Figure IV–10:
Sketch of a group of row-
house units for Yonkers as
submitted by one of the
developers.
88
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
Each family’s rear yard was to be defined
by a small fence, and small clusters of rear
yards were to be collectively fenced-off
from the surrounding streets by a taller, 6-
foot fence.
It is interesting that when the judge I was
working for visited the housing when it
was completed, but not yet occupied, he
looked at the fenced-off rear yards and
said, “They look like pig sties; is it really
necessary to have the fencing?” I explained
that the rear yards would take on a very
different character once they were occu-
Figure IV–11:
pied. For the first time in their lives, residents would have a place imme- The fencing-off of the rear
diately outside their dwellings they could call their own: their own place
yards in the Yonkers
scattered-site housing.
in the sun where they could leave a young child to play by itself without
Individual yard fences are
fear of it being harmed. Once they realized that, they would begin to cus-
3 feet high. The 6-foot fences
tomize and manicure the yards. And they would become rich with flow-
defining the collective rear
yard area can be seen in the
ers and objects that reflected their personalities. The judge looked at the
foreground and at rear.
myriad of fencing again, shook his head and said, “I hope you know
what you’re doing.”
With this design, of course, I primarily hoped to eliminate all the
troublesome, crime-ridden areas typical of multifamily public housing
projects. There were no nebulous public grounds for gangs and drug
dealers to roam. There were to be no public lobbies, no corridors, no fire
stairs, no elevators. There were none of the spaces that typically charac­
terized not only highrise public housing, but row-house developments as
well (see discussion of Defensible Space concepts in chapter I).
The principle used throughout is that residents will jealously guard and
maintain that which is theirs—even when they are renters rather than
owners. The second principle is that by dividing and assigning spaces to
individual families and to small collectives of families, we limit the operat­
ing turf of the criminal element that may be living among the residents.
Developing this principle further, I decided to do away with the collec­
tive garbage dumpsters that normally serve large groups of residents in
89
Creating Defensible Space
public housing projects. These
would be replaced with indi­
vidual garbage cans, serving
each unit. Every family would
have its own garbage cans,
and they would be placed in
concrete pits in the ground
along the front walks leading
up to the entry door to their
own house. That way the gar­
bage cans too would be within
the territorial domain of each
family, and their maintenance
would reflect on that family.
The large dumpsters that serve as garbage col­
lectors for most public housing projects are lo-
Figure IV-12
Typical garbage dumpster
serving public housing.
cated in public areas where no one identifies
with them. They are always overflowing with
garbage and attract rats and roaches. Various
stratagems have been devised to make them
function better, but in the scattered-site housing
in Yonkers, I simply refused to allow them
to exist.
I have explained the garbage can decision as if
it were made by me, alone at my desk. But as
with most of my design decisions in Yonkers,
everyone became involved and there was a big
hullabaloo about it. The city objected vehe­
mently that this would put an undue strain on its
sanitation department. I pointed out that we
were asking no more for the public residents
than the city provided to occupants of single-
family houses. The city backed down after it
was agreed that each family would be respon­
sible for bringing its garbage to the curb on the morning of garbage day.
The HUD regional office objected to our garbage can decision on two
counts: one, that individual cans buried in concrete sleeves for each
Figure IV–13:
Individual garbage cans
along the walks leading up
to each unit in Yonkers’
scattered sites.
90
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
household would be far costlier than providing a collective dumpster;
and two, that the residents would be unable to look after their own gar­
bage cans. HUD argued that these individual cans would have to be
pulled out eventually, at great cost, and replaced by dumpsters.
The housing authority’s consulting architect was also nervous about my
placing the garbage cans along the front walks. He suggested that maybe
the individual garbage cans could be stored in the back yards of the unit
and then brought out on garbage day. But to do this meant that the gar­
bage cans would have to be stored in the already small rear yards, and,
furthermore, they would have to be brought through the house on gar­
bage day. The housing authority architect suggested that we could avoid
the latter by providing a walk between the individual rear yards that led
to a gate that opened onto the street. A collective place would then be
provided at the street for all the garbage cans to be positioned for pick up
by the garbage trucks. I explained that this proposed solution introduced
three problems: (1) it meant introducing a public walk into the rear yard
areas which were now fully private; (2) it would compromise the secu­
rity of the rear yard areas by introducing gates that opened to the public
streets (we had learned from our Clason Point experiment that it took
only one family to decide to leave this gate open for everyone’s security
to be affected); and (3) having all the garbage cans grouped in a desig­
nated “public” spot, even if only on garbage day, would be creating the
same kind of problem produced by dumpsters. The operating rule was no
public spaces, and we would have to stick by it.
This dispute was settled by Pete Smith, the housing authority director
and my salvation in this entire effort. He said that he saw potential prob­
lems with each proposal, but because we were gambling on the validity
of the Defensible Space hypothesis, we should be consistent throughout,
and go with what I had proposed. This was his polite way of also saying
that it would be on my head if it went wrong. I accepted that, appreciating
that these are the risks one must take to test the value of one’s convictions.
I went on to spell out that the design of each unit was to carefully echo
the style and materials of the surrounding middle-class single-family
houses. Brick, peaked roofs, bay windows, and staggered facades were
to be used to emphasize the individual units within a row-house cluster.
91
Creating Defensible Space
All of this was accomplished
within HUD’s cost guidelines
by using factory-built housing.
The use of factory-built housing
minimized onsite protests and
potential vandalism by oppo­
nents of the housing by limiting
the onsite construction time.
The housing units arrived 95
percent complete from factories
approximately 100 miles away
Figure IV–14:
Completed scattered-site
units in Yonkers
(foreground). Existing,
privately owned, single-
family housing can be seen
in the background. The new
units seek to capture the
look and feel of the private
housing.
and were placed on foundations
(that had been prepared earlier)
during the course of a day. The ability of the local residents and politi­
cians to complicate construction by influencing the unions was also
minimized by having most of the work done in communities distant
from Yonkers.
■ Problems in controlling the design process
The decisions to scatter the 200 units over 7 sites rather than concentrate
them on 2, to use row houses rather than highrises or walkups, and to
use Defensible Space principles in laying out the grounds may sound
rational, given the history of the case, but the process of getting these
decisions accepted by HUD and the plaintiffs proved difficult.
Much of the reason the Yonkers community bitterly resisted the court
order was their expectation that the new housing would be large,
highrise developments that would devastate their surrounding areas.
Even though I, as an officer of the Federal court, had promised to build
row houses on small sites scattered throughout the city, the community
did not believe me. My promise might be sincere, but neither HUD nor
the housing authority was able to inspire much trust among the local
residents. When trying to obtain housing sites, it is normal practice for
housing authorities to tell communities that they will only be putting up
a small number of units. But once a site is acquired and approved for the
use of public housing—a difficult process in itself—the number of units
somehow doubles or quadruples. It is not that housing authorities, or
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Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
HUD, are being intentionally deceptive, it is just that it is so difficult to
acquire a site, that once it is in place more money can usually be found
by HUD for additional units. Housing authorities are then unable to resist
increasing the number, even if it means constructing high-density
walkups or even highrises. Of course the price for such a breach of faith
is that the next site becomes even harder to find and get approved.
The New York City region is a very dense area. The HUD regional
Office in New York City, therefore, had very little history of building
anything but highrises and walkups. The notion that we would be propos­
ing the construction of row houses in Yonkers was an anathema to them.
The plaintiffs in the case, the Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter
of the NAACP, also had problems with our decision to limit ourselves to
row houses. The Justice Department attorney in the case wanted to put
200 units in 2 highrise towers on the largest site. Her idea was to make
these an equal mix of public housing, moderate-income, and market-rate
units. That site would then serve 67 public housing units. I pointed out to the
plaintiffs that the history of such mixed-income developments (particularly in
Yonkers) was that they became fully occupied by low-income families in a
short period of time. This is because it is difficult to keep market-rate tenants
living among public housing residents when they have other options. When
management is then unable to attract new market-rate tenants to replace the
old, they have no option but to accept low-income tenants with Section 8 cer­
tificates (Section 8 is HUD’s rent subsidy program) to fill the vacant units.
The end result would be a 200-unit low-income, highrise project located
within a middle-income community composed of single-family houses.
This would virtually guarantee destabilization. In fact, it would replicate
the situation in southwest Yonkers that led to the case to begin with. The
entire rationale for the court decision would then be undermined. For
what would be the purpose of enabling low-income families to enjoy the
benefits of living in a middle-income community if that community then
quickly turned into a low-income community?
The attorney for the Justice Department said that my argument was falla­
cious: The issue was not the nature of the host community but the exclu­
sion of public housing residents from an area that should have been open
to them. The NAACP attorney said that my arguments reflected the racist
93
Creating Defensible Space
attitudes of Yonkers residents—attitudes that had produced the case in
the first place. He, for one, had no problem with the entire 200 units
turning into a low-income project, and if the surrounding community
then wished to leave, so be it. The Justice Department attorney reasoned
that the decline of the community would just make available additional
lower cost housing for his client group.
The argument for the mixed-income development presented by the
Justice Department attorney was that it would guarantee a mix of income
groups, rather than a concentration of low-income families. My counter
to that was that the community surrounding the new public housing was
already middle-income and stable, so there was no need to create an arti­
ficial mix within the new project—particularly if we could not sustain
that mix. If the proposed large, mixed-income development became all
low-income, the result could destabilize the surrounding middle-income
community. In informal discussions with all parties, the court accepted
my reasoning.
The next problem I encountered was getting the HUD regional office to
accept row houses as the building type rather than walkups. HUD pre­
ferred walkups because it thought they would be less costly to build.
Regarding my Defensible Space rationale, HUD said that, as an agency, they
had never accepted it. I prepared a long memo to HUD and all the parties in
the case, pointing out the following, with documented references:
■ HUD’s manual for the construction of public housing had only two
books referenced in it: Defensible Space and Design Guidelines for
Achieving Defensible Space, both written by me. The second book
had been published jointly by HUD and Justice.
■ The history of walkup public housing throughout the country was
not much better than that of highrises, and walkups were being torn
down everywhere as frequently as highrises.
■ When calculating the cost of walkups versus row houses, HUD was
only using the initial construction costs, whereas the big savings in
the use of row housing was in the consequent reduction in mainte­
nance, vandalism, and security costs. HUD spends millions of dol­
lars per project every few years repairing the destruction wrought by
94
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
the residents in the public areas of highrise and walkup buildings:
Our housing would have no such public areas.
■ Finally, the New York State Building Code allowed two-story row
houses to be built of wood, without a second fire stair, and without
the multitude of fire walls required of walkups. These additional
requirements actually made walkups more costly than row houses.
City officials in Yonkers, who would have preferred that no housing be
built at all, certainly preferred row houses over walkups. They allowed
their building department to prepare its own memo supporting my posi­
tion. These arguments were heard before the judge in the case, and he
reminded HUD (a defendant in the case) of the importance of getting the
remedy done right, that we had an opportunity to demonstrate that public
housing could be built to everyone’s benefit in middle-income communities.
The next obstacle we had to face grew out of the method the housing
authority and HUD would have to use in soliciting bids for the work.
There were two ways open to obtaining bids: the conventional route and
the turnkey route. In the conventional route, the housing authority would
have its architect prepare detailed construction drawings for the housing
on each site and then request bids on them. The problem with this method
is that New York State has the Wicks Law, which allows separate sub-
contractors to submit bids for small portions of the work. These bids
must be considered by the housing authority along with bids by general
contractors for the entire job. The housing authority would then have to
serve as the general coordinator in evaluating and accepting these small
bidders. Such projects have not only proven to be more costly, they are
difficult to administer and frequently stall in irreconcilable disputes
between subcontractors.
The turnkey route allows the housing authority simply to issue a request for
proposal (RFP) from developers in which only the sites and the number of
units per site are identified. The RFP also spells out HUD’s basic standards
for construction and site development. The use of the turnkey method
thus allows the authority to avoid the requirements of the Wicks Law.
With the conventional route the housing authority specifies exactly what
it wants in terms of design, but with the turnkey method it leaves all that
95
Creating Defensible Space
to the discretion of the developer. The purpose of the turnkey process is
to allow the developer to build what he knows how to do best and to turn
over the finished housing to the authority when it is ready for occupancy.
The housing authority and HUD both preferred the turnkey method, but
how could we be assured of getting the housing designs and site plans
we wanted? The authority and I proposed to HUD that we include a set
of written design guidelines in the RFP, along with schematic site plans
that illustrated how to produce Defensible Space plans for each of the
seven sites. The regional office of HUD objected, stating that this would
severely restrain the developer by keeping him from using his own
approach and finding the least expensive and, hence, the best solution.
After much argument, HUD agreed to allow a set of Defensible Space
guidelines to be introduced into the RFP, but totally vetoed the inclusion
of any schematic site plans. The Defensible Space design guidelines
issued in the RFP appear in addendum A, which also contains the criteria
to evaluate the responses from developers. These criteria place important
weight on incorporating Defensible Space principles.
The designs submitted by developers in response to the first issuance of
the RFP proved unacceptable. The housing authority chose not to make
any award. The developers and their architects did not seem to grasp
what we were after. The written design guidelines, alone, were not
enough to evoke either the image of the buildings or the site plan layouts
we desired. It was clear that the developers and their architects had to be
shown illustrations of what we wanted. Again, we asked HUD to allow
us to include schematic site plans and building sketches, with the expla­
nation that they were there for the developers’ enlightenment only, and
that they need not be followed. But HUD replied that the developers
were not fools, they would soon guess that if they did not follow the
schematics, they would not win the award. HUD nixed the inclusion of
the schematics in the RFP once again.
The housing authority and I realized that we could not go on issuing
RFPs and turning the developers’ submissions down, or we would alien-
ate the few developers we could attract. As it was, we were only getting
bids from 2 out of 10 developers who had paid $100 for the bid package.
I had heard from local developers, many of whom I had gone out of my
96
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
way to attract, that because their names had been made public, they were
receiving calls from important people in the community, advising them
not to bid. The only bids we did, in fact, receive were from developers
whose operations were well away from Yonkers, whereas most of the
people who had picked up the bid package were experienced local builders.
We decided to employ the following strategy in this second round: When
the developers came to pick up their packages, they would find a pile of
schematic site plans next to the pile of packages. It was explained to
them that they could either pick up the site plans with their bid packages
or not. Most of them did. This time we got back three proposals that
came very close to giving us what we wanted.
■ Selection of residents
The public housing residents who would move into the new units were
expected to have the same socio-economic profile as those who lived in
the old highrises. This is because 50 percent would come from the exist­
ing public housing projects and 50 percent from the housing authority’s
waiting list. The 200 families would be chosen by lottery from a list of
2,000 applicants. A comparison of the profile of the new tenants and
those living in the large projects shows that they are identical.
It would be wrong, however, to conclude that just because their profiles
were the same, that they were, in fact, identical. Although they had been
selected at random, they had first to select themselves as candidates for
the new housing. This is hardly random selection. It is self-selection
toward the adoption of a new opportunity and lifestyle. And this may not
be a desire that is universally held by all public housing residents.
■ Training of residents
Pete Smith, the housing authority director, believed that tenant training
was a critical ingredient to the success of the program: The residents had
to be prepared for the move. There were many things they did not know
about living in a single family house with its own heat and hot-water
system, and they were fearful. This move meant so much to them, they
were very anxious to get it right. Smith was overwhelmed by questions.
He suggested we bring in a professional trainer: someone who had done
97
Creating Defensible Space
this before. He knew Bob Mayhawk of the Housing Education Reloca­
tion Enterprise (H.E.R.E.) who had conducted training programs for a
public housing relocation program in Greenburgh, a community north of
Yonkers. He had a great deal of credibility within the African-American
community and even ran his own radio station. The training program
should be intensive, involve four or five sessions, include working with
maintenance people in the new units and meeting with the community
and the police, and provide the opportunity of going through various
procedures that would be followed in case of the need for major repairs
or other emergency responses. The training program would cost a bit,
and Smith wanted to ask HUD to pay for it.
HUD objected and asked my opinion. I thought that Smith’s housing
staff might be able to handle the counseling, including his own mainte­
nance people. I was concerned about going overboard in what we were
asking HUD to do. But Smith disagreed: The tenants needed someone
from outside the housing authority they could trust and feel comfortable
with to provide a buffer between them and the complicated world they
were entering. They needed an advocate they could ask seemingly dumb
questions without feeling humiliated; someone to whom they could open
up about their fears and reservations; someone with authority in the
community who had been through this sort of thing in his own life.
Smith decided he would find the money for Mayhawk’s services from
the housing authority’s own budget.
A five-session program was given to all potential candidates for the
housing. The sessions dealt with relocation, home maintenance, interper­
sonal relations, safety and security, and community resources. (An out-
line of these sessions appears in addendum B.) Mayhawk proved to be a
very effective educator. He understood what the future tenants were wor­
ried about, knew what they were ignorant of, and knew how to explain
things to them simply and to lead them slowly to an understanding and
self-confidence. He said, “It was up to the tenants to make the program
work and up to me to train the tenants to do that.” Residents still keep in
touch with him, and refer to him at meetings. He spoke with different
leaders of the opposition in Yonkers and reached out to them. He even
hired some of them to help in the training, involving them in the process
of acclimatizing the tenants and the neighboring community to each
98
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
other. These former opposition leaders became liaisons in the commu­
nity for the first 3 critical months. It was not by accident that the resi­
dents received flowers and baskets of fruits when they first moved in.
After the tenants moved in, these trainers went door-to-door to help
orient them.
Mayhawk also held meetings among tenants, business people, and com­
munity institutions: the latter including Sarah Lawrence College and
Yonkers Raceway. He introduced residents to business people who might
hire them. These meetings were closed, with only selected members of
the public present. Truly open meetings would have deteriorated because
the opposition groups would have descended on them, en masse, and dis­
rupted them. The local media were intentionally kept away from both the
training sessions and the tenant/community orientation sessions because
inflammatory rhetoric had categorized much of their coverage of the case.
Police were also present at these orientation sessions and meetings with
the community. Mayhawk emphasized that the housing authority and the
police would be on top of everything going on, watching the community,
watching the tenants. It was made clear that any tenants involved in ille­
gal activities would be evicted. There were many subsequent turndowns
by residents. Of the initial 2,000 applicants for the 200 available units,
about one-third dropped out of the process. Residents knew they were
moving into a fish bowl and would be under continual informal surveil-
lance. Those involved in drugs or other unsavory activities bowed out.
The teenage children of many applicants did not care for the move
because the dislocation meant some of their friendships and peer group
activity would end. The new developments were an hour bus ride away
from the concentration of projects in southwest Yonkers. Many of the fami­
lies who dropped out said they did so because of their teenagers’ objections.
■ Results
Although none of the residents had any previous experience living in row
houses with private front and rear yards, to the surprise of the middle-
income residents of Yonkers the new residents quickly adopted the behavior
patterns of their suburban neighbors. They planted flowers, further defined
their grounds with low picket fences, and installed barbecues. They became
99
Creating Defensible Space
proud of their achievements
and jealous of their territorial
rights. They even went out
of their way to assist fellow
newcomers with lawn
maintenance.
The housing authority had
intended to maintain the front
yards of the units itself and,
therefore, had kept them free
of fences, but the residents set
about defining their front
yards with their own picket
fences and took on the further responsibility of maintaining these yards
as well. It must be admitted that these picket fences and, initially, some
of the flowers, were made of inexpensive plastic, but the spirit was
there, and with time they were replaced by the real thing.
The police found no increase in crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the
scattered-site units and no evidence that the gang or drug activity that was
prevalent in the old projects
Figure IV–15:
Residents’ initial
improvements to their
front yards.
had transferred to the new. In
an evaluation of adjacent hous­
ing, the local newspaper found
that there was no decline in
property values and no white
flight. The Yonkers school
board says there is no decline
in the quality and performance
of children in the schools.
Residents of the scattered-site
units are now making requests
of the housing authority to
avail themselves of HUD pro-
grams that would allow them
to buy their units.
Figure IV–16:
Residents’ later
improvements to their
front yards.
100
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
■ Evaluation
The following are excerpts
from my interviews with Bob
Olson, the chief of police,
during the time the housing
was put in and for 2 years
thereafter, and Pete Smith, the
executive director of the
housing authority during the
entire period up to the
present. In their own words:
Bob Olson, former chief of
police, Yonkers:
I was not part of the community mindset when I first came to
Yonkers to be chief of police. The remedy order had already
been issued, and I actually saw it as my job to change that
mindset.
I attended some of the orientation sessions for the future tenants
of the scattered-site projects—and their first meetings with small
groups from the surrounding community. I was at the lottery. I
saw how much they wanted to move in and do better for them-
selves. They were good people. I remember how excited they
got when they learned they had been selected by the lottery.
My job was to convince the white community that their world
wasn’t coming to an end. I went to speak to community groups
all over the east side, adjoining every site. I let them vent about
what they feared would happen, then reassured them I wouldn’t
let any of it occur. Extra patrols would be put in initially—and
on an as needed basis—I promised. The surrounding community
was made up of people who had moved into Yonkers 2 decades
ago and had bought their houses for $60,000 and $70,000; now
they were worth $250,000. Their houses were everything they
owned. They were worried that prices would plummet when the
public housing residents moved in. They knew about the drug
Figure IV–17:
Residents’ later
improvements to their
rear yards.
101
Creating Defensible Space
scene and the prostitutes in the projects in the southwest—you
only had to drive by to see them hustling on the street corners.
My concern was to make sure that that wasn’t transplanted with
the residents. My presence, or the presence of my precinct cap­
tains, at every orientation session and meeting with surrounding
residents and businessmen must have done a lot to show every-
one we were not going to tolerate any nonsense from either side.
During the move-in and immediately thereafter we provided
extra police presence—you know that, you specifically asked
for it.
The doomsday scenario never materialized. The stories that
were circulating before the moves took place were that the real
bad folks would get into the units and create gangs, peddle
drugs, women, etc. Then the neighborhood people would react by
screaming and yelling, and possibly demonstrating. The newspapers
would hype it all up as usual—accusing both sides of what they
themselves were doing. The politicos would then jump on the band-
wagon, and we would be national headlines again.
Some people were worried about how the police would react.
My men were all Yonkers residents, and some came from fami­
lies that were in Yonkers for two and three generations. There is
no question that their views reflected the sentiment of the white
community. But they were a very professional bunch, reflecting
solid police values. Even if their personal sentiments went the
other way, I knew that when push came to shove, they would do
the right thing. Most of them liked things quiet around Yonkers.
They didn’t want a community in turmoil. They did not want to
see the level of risk increase for anyone. They viewed the whole
discrimination case as another pain in the butt—people feuding
and fighting. They used to say of the politicos: those dumb
SOBs could have been rid of this whole thing in the 1980s,
if they had only agreed to put 80 public housing units on the
east side.
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Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
We have had virtually no crime or crime problems from the
scattered-site units. After 2 1/2 years of occupancy, the only
complaints we have been getting are loud noise and music,
someone’s car broken into who lived in one of the sites, and kids
from the units taking shortcuts to ballfields across their neigh­
bors’ property. When the neighbors came out and screamed at
them, the kids retaliated by coming back with M80s. That
needed some quick fence mending, schmoozing with the kids
and the neighbors, asking each to give more than was expected
of them in the way of politeness and tolerance. It worked.
You can’t blame the neighbors for being upset: six or seven
African-American kids with pants hanging below their butts,
baseball caps turned backwards, walking across their lawn. We
talked to the kids, asked them not to cuss, and not to tangle or
argue with the neighbors. I said: “Even if they insult you,
surprise them with politeness. That’ll defuse them real good.”
And we asked the neighbors to remember that as tough as they
looked, these were just kids. And if they yelled at kids, the kids
would yell back—and more. Most of the complaints we get now
are over an occasional wild party, and these complaints come
from the other housing residents just as frequently as from the
surrounding neighbors.
The lesson I learned from all this is that highrises shouldn’t be
used for anyone but elderly, and that elderly and kids don’t mix.
The other thing is don’t put the poor African Americans in large
concentrations. Boyfriends of welfare women come into town
from Detroit, or wherever, and set up their women in their own
apartments doing drugs and prostitution. And in a highrise, that
contaminates the whole building, sometimes the whole highrise
project. You have to be able to evict these people, quickly and
easily. HUD’s procedures take too long and go nowhere.
I like the idea of using women tenants as part of an in-house
security force. The housing authority should be allowed to pay
them five bucks an hour without HUD expecting to deduct that
amount from the rent subsidy they get.
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Creating Defensible Space
Pete Smith, Director of the Yonkers Housing Authority:
I don’t have to tell you the whole thing is a resounding success.
None of the anticipated nasty things happened. There was no
transfer of crime from the projects—in fact, there is no crime at
all in either the scattered sites or in the surrounding housing.
There is no decline in property values in neighboring housing—
as our newspaper’s own analysis found out—and there is no
white flight. Boy, did that newspaper want it to be different.
People in Yonkers expected a complete failure. Expectations
were so low, we couldn’t lose. Ironically, the local newspaper
helped us there. They were constantly saying that the scattered-
site units would introduce crime, reduce property values, and
send everybody running. When none of that happened, the pres­
ence of low-income African Americans in their neighborhoods
didn’t seem all that important.
Actually, we began winning when the community saw the buildings
go up and the quality of the designs. They couldn’t believe it—
couldn’t believe that we and HUD had actually kept our word.
Then, when they saw the attitudes of residents who moved in—their
concern for their grounds, their own policing of each other, their
deference to their neighbors—the nightmare simply vanished.
There is still very little one-on-one social interaction between
tenants and surrounding residents at most of the sites, but then
we expected that. There are occasional community picnics when
they do interact, but that’s not what I mean. But they know that
each of them is there, and behave with respect accordingly, and
that’s what’s important.
There isn’t even minor theft among residents on the sites, and
you know what it can be like in public housing: people stealing
each others’ curtains. The residents now store their outdoor
things openly in their individual back yards: bicycles, barbecues,
lawn chairs, tents. These yards are only separated from each
other by low 3-foot fences. Yet nothing disappears. That’s
because everyone knows it would have to be an inside job.
You can’t get into the collective rear yard area from the outside
104
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
because of the high 6-foot fencing that encloses the collective of
individual rear yards.
Peer group pressure among the residents was the key. We set up
tenants to be leaders on each site. They were chosen at the orien­
tation program by the tenants themselves. This was such an op­
portunity for all the residents; they knew they had to make it
work. After they moved in, community meetings continued to
play an important part in the acclimatization process. Residents
kept encountering things they were not prepared for. They
wanted to know how far they could go in assuming control of the
grounds. There were complaints about neighbors misbehaving,
parking on neighboring streets, police not responding quickly
enough, [and] paint washing off the interior walls when they
cleaned them. These community meetings were held in parking
lots, peoples’ apartments, and community rooms. Each of the
seven sites had four or five meetings a year for the first 2 years:
until things settled down. Now the meetings are fewer, and the
big subject for them is, “When will we be able to buy our units?”
If drug dealing goes on in the scattered sites, it is not evident. It
is not in-your-face as it is in the large projects in the southwest. A
basic requirement of drug dealers is being able to blend in with
the scenery, so the dealers can spot a cop before the cop spots
them. There is no anonymity in the scattered-site projects and the
bordering streets. If a resident chooses to sell drugs from his
apartment, he becomes very vulnerable. If his neighbors see too
much traffic to his house, they catch on. And he never knows
who is going to drop a dime on him.
With the residents doing such a good job of maintaining their
own grounds, upkeep of the nonprivate areas of the scattered
sites becomes critically important. We can’t do less of a job than
they do. That’s why it was important that we select a good main­
tenance man, one who would be conscientious and flexible. We
are all learning our way in this thing.
The only thing I’d do differently is not design any of the sites
with more than 20 to 24 units. I know we didn’t have a choice:
105
Creating Defensible Space
God knows we struggled to get the seven sites we did. And at
one time we did have 10 sites and so could have put fewer units
on each. But the 2 big sites, with 48 units on 1 and 44 on the
other, will come back to haunt us. They’re too isolated from
their surrounding communities. They are so big, they form their
own place. They’re not totally integrated into an overall commu­
nity, not supervised by the surrounding middle-class residents.
Down the road, I think we’re going to see a difference in the
way the big sites perform and in the kids that come out of them.
It was your modifications to the Clason Point public housing
project that sold me on Defensible Space. It’s not that the con­
cept didn’t make sense intuitively, but seeing how the residents
there reacted to the opportunity, that’s what convinced me. You
know, for me the best test of the Defensible Space theory was
not the way the residents took over their own grounds and then
began to defend the entire project, I kind of expected that, but it
is the way they take care of their garbage cans next to their front
walks. I, frankly, didn’t think that would work. Making garbage
disposal an individual thing, and making it clear to the whole
world that if there was a mess on their front yard, it was the ten-
ants’ own doing, brought something out of the tenants that
showed the whole world how badly they had been prejudged.
I bump into residents on occasion when shopping. They are
finding jobs in local stores. They don’t always report that they
are working though, they’re afraid they’ll have to pay more rent.
A lot of people now have jobs in the local businesses and institu­
tions—some admit it, some don’t. The residents’ self-esteem
really went up. I can’t quantify it, but there is something special
there, an amazing difference in their self-image. They seem so
much more sure of themselves. Their kids share in that; they will
do much better because of it.
106
Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers
When we held the lottery, only one-third of our existing tenants
put their names on the list, that is 2,000 of our 6,000 households.
There was apprehension in not knowing what sort of reception
they would receive from their white suburban neighbors. But ev­
erybody in the authority has been following this closely, tenants
and management, and if another lottery were held tomorrow, I
know for a fact that 60 percent of our households would put their
names on the list.
107
REFERENCES
City of Dayton, OMB. Evaluation of the Five Oaks Neighborhood
Stabilization Plan. City of Dayton: Dayton, OH. 1994.
Kimble, C. E. Report on the Five Oaks Neighborhood Surveys. Social
Science Research Center, University of Dayton: Dayton, OH. 1993.
Newman, O. Analysis of 50 Sites in Nine Competing CCP Cities, Report
to the U.S. Department of Justice on the suitability of applying Defen­
sible Space technology. Institute for Community Design Analysis, Great
Neck, NY. 1994.
Newman, O. Improving the Viability of Two Dayton Communities: Five
Oaks and Dunbar Manor. Institute for Community Design Analysis:
Great Neck, NY. 1992.
Newman, O. Safe Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan for District 7, City
of Plantation, Florida. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great
Neck, NY. 1989.
Newman, O. Long-Term Housing Plan to Achieve Integration in the City
of Yonkers. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck, NY.
1987.
Newman, O. “Fair Housing: The Conflict Between Integration and Non-
discrimination,” Issues in Housing Discrimination. A Consultation/
Hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC. Nov.
12–13, 1985. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Washington, DC. 1986.
Newman, O., et al. Reorganization Plan for the Chicago Housing
Authority. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
Washington, DC. 1982.
109
Creating Defensible Space
Newman, O. Crime Prevention Techniques in Commercial Establish­
ments. A preliminary evaluation prepared for the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development. Institute for Community Design
Analysis: New York. 1982.
Newman, O., and K. Franck. “The Effects of Building Size on Personal
Crime and Fear of Crime,” Population and Environment. No. 5. 1982.
Newman, O., and K. Franck. Housing Design and Children’s Anti-social
Behavior. A study for the National Institute of Mental Health. Institute
for Community Design Analysis: New York. 1981.
Newman, O. Design Standards for Homeless Men Shelters in New York
City. Expert testimony to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. A
study undertaken for the New York State Department of Social Services,
Division of Adult Services. Institute for Community Design Analysis:
New York. 1981.
Newman, O. Proposal for Improving the Amsterdam Bijlmermeer New
Town, The Netherlands. A plan for rescuing the 12,000-unit new town
outside Amsterdam. Gemeentelijke Dienst Volkshuisvesting,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 1980.
Newman, O., and K. Franck. Factors Influencing Crime and Instability
in Urban Housing Developments. U.S. Department of Justice: Washing-
ton, DC. 1980.
Newman, O. Community of Interest. Anchor Press/Doubleday: Garden
City, NY. 1980.
Newman, O. Design Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space. U.S.
Department of Justice, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington,
DC. 1976.
Newman, O., and S. Johnston. A Model Security Code for Residential
Areas. A study for the Ford Foundation providing security components
to be added to standard building codes. Institute for Community Design
Analysis: New York. 1975.
110
References
Newman, O., D. Grandin, and F. Wayno. The Private Streets of St. Louis.
A National Science Foundation study (summarized in Community of
Interest, Ch. 6, Doubleday, 1980). Institute for Community Design
Analysis: New York. 1974.
Newman, O. Architectural Design for Crime Prevention. U.S.
Government Printing Office: Washington, DC. 1973.
Newman, O. Design Guide for Improving Residential Security. U.S.
Government Printing Office: Washington, DC. 1973.
Newman, O. Defensible Space. New York: Macmillan. 1972.
Newman, O. Inventory of Space Availability in Four New York City
Detention Facilities. A study for the New York City Department of
Corrections directed at improving conditions following the prison riots.
Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York, 1971.
Newman, O. Park Mall: Lawndale. The reuse of public streets and re­
dundant arterials in neighborhood rehabilitation. City of Chicago,
Department of Development and Planning: Chicago. 1968.
Newman, O. New Frontiers in Architecture. A summary of the 1959
International Congress of Modern Architects conference in Otterlo. An
early exploration of the effects of architectural design on perception and
behavior. Universe Books: New York. 1961.
111
Addendum A
Defensible Space Guidelines
Used in Yonkers RFP
(This edited and shortened version of the original RFP speaks primarily
to design guidelines concerning Defensible Space.)
■ Background
This is a request for proposals for the construction of public housing
units for families with children, to be built on seven preselected sites
in the eastern part of Yonkers. This housing is being built as a remedy
to a Federal Court judgment. Both the City of Yonkers and the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have entered
into Consent Decrees to further the construction of this housing. The
sites have been acquired by the City of Yonkers. The Court has ordered
the City to make them available at no cost for use by the turnkey devel­
oper selected to develop the public housing units. The selection will
be made by the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority (MHA) and
approved by HUD.
Two-story townhouse dwelling units have been chosen as the most
appropriate form of housing: (1) to best serve the future residents; and
(2) to fit into the single-family residential character of the existing
neighborhoods. The advantage of the townhouse design is that each unit
is its own entity, belonging to one single family. It has its own front and
back yard, and independent entrances serving only that family. The
townhouse has no public circulation spaces—no lobbies, stairways, or
corridors—which often create problems in low-income developments.
The cost of proposals that exceed HUD’s Total Development Cost
(TDC) guidelines (as found in Section C) will not be rejected by MHA
for that reason alone; however, HUD has made no commitment that it
will provide funds for any costs in excess of those cost guidelines, and
accordingly, has reserved the right to reject any proposals exceeding
113
Creating Defensible Space
them. Sources of funds other than HUD’s may be made available to pro-
vide for costs in excess of the cost guidelines.
■ Definitions
1. Townhouse Units:
A townhouse unit is a two-story house serving only one family. It shares
common side walls with other townhouse units. Each townhouse will
have its own entry front and rear and its own front and rear yard. Refer
to the New York State Building Code for the maximum number of
townhouse units that can be grouped together under different fire
designations.
2. Units for the Handicapped:
A dwelling unit for the handicapped must be located entirely on the first
floor level. It must be designed to the Uniform Federal Accessibility
Standards. HUD requires that 5 percent of all units be provided for the
handicapped per site.
3. Dwelling Units above Handicapped Units:
A second floor walkup dwelling unit will be permitted above the handi­
capped unit, but it must have a separate individual entrance at ground
level. That is to say, the family living on the second floor is to have its
own entry at street level which leads to a stair to the second floor. In
MHA’s definition there will be no interior areas common to more than
one family.
4. Units for the Visually and Hearing Impaired:
HUD requires that in addition, 2 percent of all units be provided for the
visually and hearing impaired. These units are to be designed to comply
with the Public Housing Development Accessibility Requirements (No­
tice PIH 88-34) (attached to this RFP). These dwelling units shall be
distributed among the sites as shown.
114
Addendum A
■ Selection of proposals
Proposals will be selected by MHA on the basis of free and open compe­
tition. Evaluation will be objectively conducted in accordance with the
procedures and criteria set forth in the Proposal Evaluation Criteria,
which follow later.
All proposals must comply with the project planning, design and cost
criteria detailed in chapters 3, 6, 9, and 10 of the Public Housing
Development Handbook and applicable cost containment and modest
design requirements of HUD Notice PIH90–16 and Public Housing Cost
Guidelines.
■ Zoning
The Federal District Court has ordered that all sites are deemed to be
appropriately zoned for the housing called for in this RFP. The guide-
lines and constraints for the development of the sites are specified in the
Design Criteria paragraph and Design Parameters. Developers are spe­
cifically asked to refer to the changes in the Yonkers Zoning Code al­
lowed for in this RFP as regards to existing setback requirements and
parking ratios.
■ Design criteria
1. Building Design
All buildings shall have pitched shingle roofs for drainage and aesthetic
purposes.
In order to individualize the separate units, the Developer shall endeavor
where possible, and in compliance with HUD’s Cost Containment
Guidelines, to employ visual breaks, changes in plane or roof line, and/
or varied architectural expression (e.g. variation in window sizes, color,
texture, etc.), especially in the development of the building elevations.
The exterior walls shall have a brick veneer at the first story. The second
story should be a maintenance free material.
115
Creating Defensible Space
2. Security:
Page 1 of HUD’s Manual of Acceptable Practices cites two references
for site design to achieve security: Architectural Design for Crime
Prevention (U.S. Government Printing Office) and Defensible Space
(Macmillan). Since security has become an increasingly important issue
for public housing and for the communities that surround them, security
should be given very serious consideration in the development of these
site plans. The parameters to be used are as follows: The front yards, the
fronts of buildings, and the main entries to units shall face existing
streets or new driveways so as to facilitate normal patrolling by police
cars and police response to residents’ request for assistance. This will
also enable residents across the street, whose units also face the street, to
survey their neighbors front doors.
To the extent that the site will allow, the rear yards serving individual
units should be backed onto the rear yards of other units so that a collec­
tive grouping of rear yards can be easily fenced off together using a col­
lective 6’0” high fence. This will serve to create a collective private zone
(consisting of a grouping of individual rear yards) that is inaccessible
from the public street but accessible from the interior of each unit.
The amount of collective fencing needed to enclose the collective group­
ings of rear yard areas can be minimized through the judicious place­
ment of buildings and rear yards.
3. Parking:
All parking areas are to be positioned a minimum distance of 10 feet
from any building and should be positioned to facilitate surveillance
from the units. Parking may be placed between the side walls of
townhouse groupings as long as the nearest automobile space is not
closer to the street than the front line of the building. Concrete wheel
stops at curbs are to be provided at every parking space.
4. Walks:
Walks shall be provided for safe convenient direct access to each unit
and for safe pedestrian circulation throughout a development between
facilities and locations where major need for pedestrian access can be
116
Addendum A
anticipated. Walks shall be located so that they are easily surveyed from
the interior of units.
5. Garbage and Refuse Storage:
Individual, outdoor garbage storage areas are to be provided and posi­
tioned to serve each dwelling unit. Inground garbage containers are the
preferred solution by MHA and shall be designed to hold two garbage
receptacles. The design treatment and construction of garbage and refuse
stations and containers should prevent access to them by pests or animals.
6. Lighting:
Lighting is to be provided for the entire developed site with concentra­
tions at walks, ramps, parking lots, and entrances to units. The intensity
shall be 0.5 foot candles minimum for parking lots and walkways; and
4.0 foot candles for townhouse entrances, ramps, and steps. Parking
lighting poles shall have a minimum height of 25’0” and pedestrian walk
lighting poles a height of 12’0” to 15’0”.
7. Planting:
Planting should not be placed so as to screen the doors and windows of
dwelling units from the street or from walks leading from the street to
dwelling unit entries.
Plant material should be selected and arranged to permit full safe sight
distance between approaching vehicles at street intersections. Additional
attention is required where driveways enter streets, at crosswalks and
especially in areas of concentrated mixed pedestrian and vehicular
movement. Planting that hides the pedestrian from the motorist until he
steps out on the street should be avoided.
■ Selection of proposals
Proposals will be selected by the Municipal Housing Authority on the
basis of free and open competition. Proposals will be evaluated objec­
tively in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in HUD
Handbook 7417.1 Rev. 1, dated October 1980, paragraphs 6–42 and
6–43, as amended by this RFP, as well as the following Evaluation
Criteria.
117
Creating Defensible Space
In the event that all proposals are determined to be “nonresponsive,” i.e.,
require major corrections in order to conform to the requirements of the
RFP, MHA reserves the right to solicit a second round of proposals. Under
this procedure, each developer will be informed of the reasons his/her
proposal was determined nonresponsive, and be given an opportunity to
submit a redesigned proposal, which may involve a higher price. If all
resubmitted proposals are again found nonresponsive, MHA and HUD
reserve the right to negotiate with the developer of the proposal considered
most desirable to rectify deficiencies, permitting, if necessary, further
increases in price.
After MHA has made its official announcement of designation, it will
hold a meeting with those respondents who were not selected. This
meeting will be held to review the rating, ranking, and selection process.
■ Proposal evaluation criteria
Proposals will be evaluated on a point system based on the four criteria
below. The developer is asked to follow them as closely as possible.
A. Developer’s price ...................................................... 20 points max.
The total developer’s price as a percent of the median price for all
responsive turnkey proposals.
Superior = below 90 percent of median
Average = 90–100 percent of median
Poor = more than 100 percent of median
B. Developer’s qualifications ........................................ 20 points max.
Previous experience in successfully developing and completing similar
projects, perceived capability in completing this project, and financial
viability.
118
Addendum A
C. Site development plan .............................................. 40 points max.
(i) Site development layout
The extent to which the site development plan conforms to the Design
Criteria regarding the layout of topography/grading, drainage, utility
plan, streets, parking, slope stability, planting design, and open space
development.
Maximum 15 points
(ii) Architectural treatment
The degree to which the exterior design of the dwelling units captures
the scale, materials, and character of the neighborhood.
Maximum 15 points
(iii) Unit layout
The extent to which the dwelling unit floor plans and layout provides
functional housing arrangements, allows residents to supervise activities
in the streets, and allows the unit front entries and windows to be ob­
served from the street.
Maximum 10 points
D. Design and construction quality............................. 20 points max.
(i) Special design features
The degree to which the design incorporates features that provide for
efficient project operations and lower maintenance costs.
Maximum 5 points
(ii) Energy-saving features
The extent to which the design provides for long-term energy savings by
incorporating the use of energy conservation features.
Maximum 5 points
(iii) Material and equipment
The extent to which durable, low-maintenance, construction material
and equipment will be used.
Maximum 5 points
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Creating Defensible Space
(iv) Security
The extent to which the rear yards are backed onto other rear yards, so
that a collective grouping of rear yards can be fenced off together. This
will make the rear yards inaccessible from the public street but acces­
sible from the interior of each dwelling.
Maximum 5 points
Total Maximum.......................... 100 points max.
Proposals will be evaluated based on the point system described above.
The rating will be a gradation of 100 points spread among the four crite­
ria. Ratings will be, (1) Superior (value 70 percent to 100 percentage
points), Average (value 40 percent to 69 percentage points) and (3) Poor
(value 0 to 39 percentage points), for each criteria. If only one proposal
is submitted, the developer’s price criteria will be rated against HUD’s
latest TDC for townhouse construction in Westchester County.
120
Addendum B
Tenant Training Course Conducted by Housing
Education Relocation Enterprise
Tenants were given 2 hours of orientation and 2 hours of counseling in
the following five subjects:
Tenant relocation
1. What are leases? Tenant responsibilities; landlord responsibilities?
2. What are the three phases of relocation?
3. What is the relocation schedule/timetable?
4. How do tenants prepare for the move?
5. How do tenants move?
6. How do tenants adapt to their new community?
Home maintenance
1. What do tenants need to know about their new housing units?
2. What do tenants need to know about their utilities?
a) Telephone company (NYNEX, MCI, SPRINT)
b) Washer/dryer (Manufacturer)
c) Heating/air conditioning (CON-EDISON)
d) Stove/refrigerator (Manufacturer)
3. What do tenants need to know about trash/garbage removal?
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Creating Defensible Space
4. What do tenants need to know about parking?
5. What do tenants need to know about outdoor home recreation?
Interpersonal relations
1. What constitutes good tenant/landlord relations?
2. What constitutes good tenant/tenant relations?
3. What constitutes good tenant/neighbor relations?
4. What benefits do resident councils provide?
a) Methods or organization
b) Democratic processes
c) Problem solving
d) Conflict resolution
e) MHA grievance procedure
Safety/security
1. What is the MHA evacuation plan?
2. What constitutes good police/community relations?
3. How does a tenant identify and properly utilize public health services?
a) Department of public works
b) Fire department
c) City emergency services
d) Ambulance/medical services
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Addendum B
e) Hospitals/clinics
f) Night/neighborhood watch programs
Community resources
1. What family services are available to the tenants?
a) Youth services
b) Parks/recreation
c) Libraries
d) Cultural services
e) Shopping centers
f) Banking services
g) Postal services
h) Personal maintenance
2. Transportation
a) Buses
b) Trains
c) Cabs/private transportation
3. Religious services
123
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Policy Development and Research
Washington, D.C. 20410–6000
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Equal Housing
Opportunity

Creating Defensible Space
by Oscar Newman Institute for Community Design Analysis

Contractor: Center for Urban Policy Research Rutgers University Contract No. DU100C000005967 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research

April 1996

The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This monograph is very special because it draws directly from Mr. Stegman Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research iii . Mr. small. Indeed. Information about this pro­ cess is presented for three distinct venues: in an older. Michael A. By publishing Creating Defensible Space. and in the context of dispersing public housing throughout a small city. PD&R is pleased to be part of the continuing growth and evolution of Defensible Space as both a criminological concept and a proven strategy for enhancing our Nation’s quality of urban life. private urban community. in an existing public housing community. Over the years.FOREWORD The appearance of Oscar Newman’s Defensible Space in 1972 signaled the establishment of a new criminological subdiscipline that has come to be called by many “Crime Prevention Through Envi­ ronmental Design” or CPTED. Newman’s experience as a con­ sulting architect. we asked the author to share with us both his perspective on creating viable change and his personal observations on key lessons learned. Newman’s ideas have proven to have such signifi­ cant merit in helping the Nation’s citizens reclaim their urban neighborhoods that we at HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research asked him to prepare a casebook to assist public and pri­ vate organizations with the implementation of Defensible Space theory.

............. 9 Evolution of the concept............................................................................................. ix ■ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................. 9 The concept ...................... 4 Rationale for selecting the three case studies............... South Bronx....................................................................................... 14 Summary of the effect of building type on behavior ......................................................... 5 Case Study Two: The Clason Point project.......... 9 The private streets of St................... 7 ■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles ..................................................................... 5 Case Study Three: Dispersing public housing in Yonkers...................... xiii ■ INTRODUCTION ...................... 18 Social factors and their interaction with the physical .........................................................................................................................................................................................CONTENTS ■ ILLUSTRATIONS ................................................... 23 v .............................. 4 Case Study One: The Five Oaks community in Dayton................................................ 1 What this book is about and who it is for ................................................................... New York City .. Ohio .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 17 The effect of building type on residents’ control of streets................... Louis.................................................... New York ....................................................................................... 13 The effect of housing form on residents’ ability to control areas ............................................. 6 Presentation format...............

................................................................Creating Defensible Space The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups .............. 59 ■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment ..................................................................................................... 51 Allied measures for stabilizing the community ................................................................................................ 55 Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood concept.............................................................................................................................................................. Ohio .. 38 Community participation in designing mini-neighborhoods ........................................... 37 Initial presentations to city staff and the community..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 69 Resurfacing of buildings .. Dayton.......................................................................... 31 Initiating the process ............................ 65 Redefinition of grounds ................... 72 Effectiveness of the modifications .............................................................................................................................................. 51 Evaluation of the modifications ................................................................................. 28 ■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks......... 46 The alley problem in Dayton......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 78 vi ..... 74 Learning from experience .. 43 Traffic studies ... 46 Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan..................................................... 71 Redevelopment of the central area ........................ 27 Factors influencing crime and instability...........................................................................................................................

........................... 114 Selection of proposals ................. 121 Home maintenance .............................................................................................................................................. 121 vii .......................................................................................... 92 Selection of residents .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 97 Results ............................................................................................................................................. 86 Problems in controlling the design process................................................................................... 115 Zoning ............................................ 113 Definitions . 115 Selection of proposals ................................................................................ 113 Background...................................................................................................................................... 97 Training of residents .................................................. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers .............................................................................................................. 117 Proposal evaluation criteria ................................. 109 ■ Addendum A: Defensible Space Guidelines Used in Yonkers RFP ..................................................Table of Contents ■ Chapter IV: Dispersed............................................................ 115 Design criteria ........................ 101 ■ REFERENCES................. 99 Evaluation....................... 121 Tenant relocation ................................. 81 Design principles..................................................................................................... 118 ■ Addendum B: Tenant Training Course ............................

.................................. 122 Safety/security ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 123 viii ...................................................................................Creating Defensible Space Interpersonal relations ... 122 Community resources .............................................

......................................... 17 Figure I–12: A four-city-block row-house development ..................................... 10 Figure I–2: The architect’s vision of how the 3d floor communal corridor in Pruitt-Igoe would be used ........................................ 21 Figure I–16: Comparison of two walkups subdivided differently .................................................. 11 Figure I–4: Vandalism in Pruitt-Igoe ........................................................................................... 12 Figure I–6: Carr Square Village ..................................... 14 Figure I–9: Single-family houses and the nature of spaces .. 18 Figure I–13: A four-city-block garden apartment development ........................................................... 19 Figure I–14: A four-city-block highrise development.................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 13 Figure I–8: Aerial view of typical closed streets in St................................................................................. 16 Figure I–11: The elevator highrise and the nature of spaces ....................................... 11 Figure I–5: Pruitt-Igoe in the process of being torn down ..................................................................................... 12 Figure I–7: Graph of increase in crime with building height ....................................................................................... 15 Figure I–10: Walkup buildings and the nature of spaces ........ Louis ..................................................................... Louis ........................ 10 Figure I–3: The actual 3d floor communal corridor of Pruitt-Igoe ......... 20 Figure I–15: A highrise and a walkup built at the same density ..............ILLUSTRATIONS ■ Chapter I: Defensible Space Principles Figure I–1: Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe in St.................... 22 ix ................................................

.............................................. 36 Figure II–7: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of African-American renters ..................Creating Defensible Space Figure I–17: Crime rates by social and physical variables ................................................ 36 Figure II–8: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of vacancies ............................................................................................................... 23 Figure I–18: Variations in crime rate by socioeconomic groups ............... 49 Figure II–17: Proposed gates defining mini-neighborhoods........................................................................ 47 Figure II–14: Hammerhead turn at end of street ............... 43 Figure II–10: Overly large cul-de-sac layout . 48 Figure II–15: Proposed portal markers for mini-neighborhoods ................................................................. Ohio Figure II–1: Map locating Five Oaks and downtown Dayton ................................................................................. 48 Figure II–16: Actual position of portals as installed ................... 49 x ....................................................................... 31 Figure II–2: Typical street in Five Oaks .............................................................................................................. 37 Figure II–9: Greek cross plan for ideal mini-neighborhood ............................................................ 32 Figure II–3: Deteriorated two-story walkup in Five Oaks .............................................................. 35 Figure II–6: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of renters .................... 34 Figure II–5: Map of Five Oaks’ internal streets and boundaries ......................... 44 Figure II–11: Schematic showing ideal access to mini-neighborhoods............................ Dayton................................................................................................................................................ 26 ■ Chapter II: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks............................................... 46 Figure II–13: Mini-neighborhood plan for Five Oaks showing location of gates and entries into mini-neighborhoods ................ 34 Figure II–4: Street in Five Oaks with various building types ............................................................ 45 Figure II–12: Mini-neighborhood boundaries of Five Oaks ............

................................................................................................................................................................................ 72 Figure III–10: Plan for the conversion of the central area .................... 77 xi ...................................................................................... 75 Figure III–15: Before and after photographs of Clason Point ............................................................................................ 73 Figure III–11: The central area as modified ................................................................................................................................. 69 Figure III–6: Vandalized tiles and mailboxes in a highrise ..................... 71 Figure III–9: The central area before modifications ......................................................................... 76 Figure III–16: Residents’ response to 6-foot fencing......... 51 Figure II–20: Residents making improvements to their homes ................................................. 70 Figure III–7: Small play nodes .............................. 73 Figure III–12: Revised plan of Clason Point ......................................................................................... 74 Figure III–13: Internal walk at Clason Point before modifications .. 67 Figure III–3: Composite of fear maps produced by residents.................................................................................................. 50 Figure II–19: Gates across the rear alleys ...................................................... 56 ■ Chapter III: The Clason Point Experiment Figure III–1: Clason Point from street before modifications ......................................................................................... 69 Figure III–5: Collective front yards defined by the new curbing ...................................................................... 54 Figure II–21: Renter and homeowner children playing together ......................................... 70 Figure III–8: Wall of sample surfaces ................................................................... 66 Figure III–2: Interior grounds before modifications ................................... 75 Figure III–14: Internal walk after modifications ..................................................................................................Illustrations Figure II–18: Gates as actually installed ......................................................... 68 Figure III–4: Six-foot fencing defines collective rear yards .....

. 100 Figure IV–16: Residents’ later improvements to front yards ...... 83 Figure IV–5: The Schlobohm project in Yonkers ........ 101 xii ......... 90 Figure IV–13: Individual garbage cans along the walks .............................................................................................................................................................. 90 Figure IV–14: Completed scattered-site units in Yonkers .... 89 Figure IV–12: Typical garbage dumpster serving public housing ... 92 Figure IV–15: Residents’ initial improvements to front yards ............................................... 84 Figure IV–7: Typical site plan for a 12-unit site ................................................................................................................................. 79 Figure III–18: Aerial view of a small portion of Clason Point ................................................................................................................................................................................... 85 Figure IV–8: Typical site plan for a 24-unit site ......................................................................................................... 83 Figure IV–6: The Mulford Gardens project in Yonkers ............................................................. 79 ■ Chapter IV: Dispersed. NY Figure IV–1: Map showing concentration of public housing ...................................................... 82 Figure IV–4: Aerial view of east Yonkers .. 82 Figure IV–3: Map locating Yonkers relative to New York City ........................................................................ 88 Figure IV–10: Sketch of a group of row-house units ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 86 Figure IV–9: Typical site plan for a 48-unit site ............................... Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers................................................ 88 Figure IV–11: Fencing-off of the rear yards in Yonkers ...............................................................Creating Defensible Space Figure III–17: Play node for young children ..................................... 81 Figure IV–2: The School Street project in Yonkers ....................... 100 Figure IV–17: Residents’ later improvements to rear yards........................

He followed this by having me conduct a series of seminars for U. Evaluation. but more importantly. Suffice it to say. and Bernice Ganble. the project would not have been realized without his efforts. I describe his role in my discussion of Five Oaks. as my mentor and muse during the entire writing effort. Karen DeMasi. the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Hal Holzman served as HUD’s Project Officer. California) bore the full responsibility of seeing the Dayton project through from start to finish. I wish to thank Henry Cisneros. HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. initially suggested the idea for the three case studies. who brought me to Dayton and helped me at every stage. Reducing Crime and Creating Community. He then had me meet with Margery Turner. and Patrick Donnelly. Hal Holzman to define the scope of the work. all residents of the community and professionals in their own right. Ray Reynolds. he encouraged me to record experiences and speak to issues I would have otherwise hesi­ tated addressing. who served to coordinate community participation during the xiii . the city’s former director of urban develop­ ment (now planning director for the city of Hollywood.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Firstly. he recognized the importance of our work to housing authorities and cities across the country and prepared his own essay entitled: Defensible Space. Early in his administration. superintendent of police. for his personal support and encouragement in having me prepare these case studies. and Monitoring and with Dr. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research. The publication has received wide acclaim and distribution. Michael Stegman. In Dayton. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) personnel and his key staff and Assistant Secretaries to explore how Defensible Space technology could be utilized in various HUD programs.S. Others who were germane to the success of the Five Oaks project were: Jaruth Durham-Jefferson.

he knew everyone and identified with their concerns and resistance. prepared the final illustrations from my sketches. New York. His role was difficult. Chief of police Robert Olson (now in Minneapolis) was helpful in calming the community’s nerves during the process. provided a police presence when it was needed. he also identified with public housing residents and their plight in segregated highrise projects. Allen Christianson. director of maintenance. and Bernie Moses. Pete Smith. two men took to the idea. as a long-time Yonkers resident. They were Sam Granville. director of management. both now retired. but as executive director of the housing authority.Creating Defensible Space planning of the project and provided insights that helped me define the plan and write the case study. Even though housing authority management was skeptical. Oscar Newman Hensonville. was our first effort in modifying public housing projects using the Defensible Space theory. the director of the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority. and had his men bring the com­ munity and public housing teenagers together when tempers flared. who has served as our institute’s administrator and my trusted editor for 20 years. He knew that what we were planning would help all public housing resi­ dents and would not be the destabilizing force everyone in the commu­ nity feared. Within our offices. was my second conscience through my entire 8 years of working there. New York April 1996 xiv . In Yonkers. as he has in my previous books. and provided insights and assistance that gave access to data and to sites for experimentation. continued her critical work in helping me produce this book. architect. Clason Point in the Bronx. Joanna King. opened doors.

The pro­ cess has also produced inexpensive ways to create housing for the poor. In this chapter. Over the past 25 years.740-unit public housing highrise development.CHAPTER Defensible Space Principles ONE ■ The concept All Defensible Space programs have a common purpose: They restruc­ ture the physical layout of communities to allow residents to control the areas around their homes. Defensible Space relies on self-help rather than on government interven­ tion. It depends on resident involvement to reduce crime and remove the pres­ ence of criminals. The project was designed by one of the country’s 9 . go to ruin. and so it is not vulnerable to government’s withdrawal of support. often without government assistance. our institute has been using Defensible Space technology to enable residents to take control of their neighborhoods. and to stimulate private reinvestment. It has the ability to bring people of different incomes and race together in a mutually beneficial union. as a teacher at Washington University in St. For low-income people. Defensible Space can provide an introduction to the benefits of mainstream life and an opportunity to see how their own actions can better the world around them and lead to upward mobility. I will briefly explain the origins and principles of Defensible Space and introduce the reader to the results of our various research projects. We have been able to do this while maintaining racial and economic integration. The programs help people preserve those areas in which they can realize their com­ monly held values and lifestyles. to reduce crime. This includes the streets and grounds outside their buildings and the lobbies and corridors within them. Louis. I was able to witness the newly constructed 2. Pruitt-Igoe. ■ Evolution of the concept: Pruitt-Igoe and Carr Square Village The Defensible Space concept evolved about 30 years ago when.

The areas proved unsafe. The river of trees soon became a sewer of glass and garbage. Each building was given communal corridors on every third floor to house a laundry. Because all the grounds were common and disassociated from the units. and stairs were dangerous places to walk. and community rooms were vandalized.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–1: Overall view of Pruitt-Igoe. It Figure I–2: The architect’s vision of how the 3d floor communal corridor in Pruitt-Igoe would be used. The idea was to keep the grounds and the first floor free for community activity. a communal room. 10 . a 2. It followed the plan­ ning principles of Le Corbusier and the Interna­ tional Congress of Modern Architects. residents could not iden­ tify with them. “A river of trees” was to flow under the buildings. and a garbage room that contained a garbage chute. They became covered with graffiti and littered with garbage and human waste. The project never achieved more than 60 percent occupancy. The elevators. Even though the density was not very high (50 units to the acre).740-unit public housing project constructed in St. most eminent architects and was hailed as the new enlight­ enment. the design proved a disas­ ter. welfare families. elevators. and garbage was stacked high around the choked garbage chutes. The mailboxes on the ground floor were vandalized. laundry. Occupied by single-parent. residents were raised into the air in 11-story buildings. Women had to get together in groups to take their children to school and go shopping. The corridors. lob­ bies. Louis in the 1960s.

Figure I–4: Vandalism to the large number of vacant apartments in Pruitt-Igoe as seen from the outside. and stairs shared by 150 families were a disaster—they evoked no feelings of identity or control. Carr Square Village. Such anonymous public spaces made it impossible for even Figure I–3: The 3d floor communal corridor as it actually turned out. one found it neat and well maintained—modestly furnished perhaps. occupied by an identi­ cal population. and lobbies. elevators. it was clean and well-maintained. but with great pride. safe. Landings shared by only two families were well maintained. Why such a difference between the interior of the apartment and the public spaces outside? One could only conclude that residents maintained and controlled those areas that were clearly defined as their own. row- house complex.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles was torn down about 10 years after its construction and be- came a precursor of what was to happen elsewhere in the country. It had remained fully occupied and trouble-free throughout the construction. Where only two fami­ lies shared a landing. I asked. and decline of Pruitt-Igoe. Across the street from Pruitt- Igoe was an older. With social variables constant in the two developments. one could only ask: What kind of people live here? Excluding the interior public areas of the development there were occasional pockets that were clean. and well- tended. 11 . whereas corridors shared by 20 families. smaller. occupancy. showing the vandalism that ensued. If one could get oneself invited into an apartment. what. was the significance of the physical differences that enabled one to survive while the other was destroyed? Walking through Pruitt-Igoe in its heyday of pervasive crime and vandalism.

at a loss of $300 million.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–5: Pruitt-Igoe in the process of being torn down. Most of us have seen highrise apartments occu­ pied by middle-income people that function very well. 12 . impossible to tell resident from intruder. there are barely enough Figure I–6: Carr Square Village. and resident superintendents to watch over and maintain the common public areas. elevator operators. Why then do they not work for low-income fami­ lies? Middle-income apart­ ment buildings have funds available for doormen. neighboring residents to develop an accord about acceptable behavior in these areas. a row-house development located across the street from Pruitt-Igoe. por­ ters. but in highrise public housing. It was impossible to feel or exert proprietary feelings.

and shipping kings. or was the operating mechanism the closing-off of streets and the creation of controlled enclaves? Through research funded by the National Science Foundation (Newman. They continued to function as peaceful.7 16.0 12.0 Walkups (3 floors) 14.2 Inside apartments 12.5 Midrises (6–7 floors) 14. These chateaux are positioned on privately held streets.0 Total 30. Dean. elevator operators. Given that funds for doormen. if you could afford a castle. and although anyone was free to drive or walk them (they had no guard booths). the question emerged: Is it possible to design public housing without any interior public areas and to have all the grounds assigned to individual families? Location of Crime in Walkups and Highrises Total 68. Not surprisingly. but the private streets appeared to be oblivious to the chaos and abandon­ ment taking place around them. and Wayno. Louis Also in St. The influx of people from the rural areas of the South had overwhelmed the city. closed to through traffic.5 37. and resident superintendents do not exist for public housing. one knew that one was intruding into a private world and that one’s actions were under constant observation. They are the former palaces of St.3 16. crime-free environments—nice places to rear children. could not this model be used to stabilize the adjacent working and middle-class neighborhoods that were undergoing massive decline and abandonment? Was private ownership the key.5 Highrises (13–30 floors) ■ The private streets of St. let alone for security person­ nel. 13 . it is within these interior and exterior common public ar­ eas that most crime in public housing takes place.3 On outside grounds 10.0 In interior public spaces 5. Louis in the mid-1960s was a city coming apart. The residents owned and controlled their own streets. I came upon a series of turn-of-the-century neighborhoods where homes are replicas of the small chateaux of France. 1974) we were able to identify the essential ingredients of the pri­ vate streets and provide a model that could be replicated throughout the Figure I–7: Graph showing the relationship between the increase in crime and increased building height and that crime is mostly located within public areas.0 Total 41. beef. porters. St. Why. Louis’ commercial barons—the rail.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles funds for 9-to-5 nonresident mainte­ nance men. therefore. It had one of the Nation’s highest crime rates. I asked. or porters. Louis.

■ The effect of housing form on residents’ ability to control areas Over the next few pages I will explain how dif­ ferent building types create spaces outside the dwelling unit that affect residents’ ability to control them. walkups. These three categories are: single-family houses. I am interested in learning how the grouping of units in different types of building configura­ tions creates indoor and outdoor “nonunit” spaces of different character. Although all three types of single-family buildings look different. I should explain what I mean by the dwelling unit: It is the interior of an apartment unit or home. For simplification.Creating Defensible Space city. and the row-house building has a few single-family units sharing common walls with other units. and row houses (row houses are also called townhouses). 14 . There are no interior spaces that are public or that do not belong to a family. the semidetached building has two single-family units sharing a common wall. I have grouped all buildings into the three categories that capture the essential differences among them. and highrises. That is the case whether the unit is one among many in a highrise building or sits by itself on the ground. therefore. they share an essen­ tial common trait: Within the four walls of each type of building is the private domain of one family. not touching any other build­ ing. Louis. All the interior spaces. one on each side. Firstly. are private. semidetached houses. This was done in both African-American and white areas. There are no interior spaces within any single-family build­ ing—whether a row house. or a fully detached Figure I–8: Aerial view of typical closed streets in St. and its implementation suc­ ceeded in stabilizing communities in transition. a semidetached building. Even the row house is subdivided into a series of distinctly pri­ vate spaces. Single-family houses come in three basic types: detached houses. The fully detached building sits by itself.

The number of families sharing these common 15 . but some people would say that they are really private. The upward limit of the detached house is about six units _private k<>H to the acre. Row houses can be Figure I–9: built at an upward limit of 16 units to the acre if one also wishes to pro- Three types of single-family vide off-street parking on a one-to-one basis.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles house—that are shared by more than one family. I have classed them as semiprivate because of this difference. or public. but this allows for a driveway to be • There is a direct abutment between private grounds and the sidewalk. put between each unit. houses and the nature of 1 to 10 dUfacre _ semipubltc Publ+<. Looking at the next classification of building—the walkup—one finds that a radical new element has been introduced that totally changes the character of both the inside and outside of the building. The front yard of each unit also immediately abuts the street. each has been designed so that each unit has its own front and rear yard. The fundamental difference in the three types of single-family houses shown is the density at which they can be built— which is to say the number of units that can be put on an acre of land in each of Detached house these configurations. Regardless of which type of single-family building we examine. one finds that all the grounds are private because they have been assigned to each unit. When one looks at the grounds surrounding these three types of single- family units. If we attempt to categorize the grounds as either private. semipublic. we would have to conclude that the rear yards are certainly private because they belong to individual fami­ lies and are only accessible from the interior of each unit. could not be achieved in detached units at six to the acre. The front yards also belong to individual families. • All grounds around the private unit are for the private use of the family. spaces in and around them. but because they are accessible from the street as well as from the interior of each unit their character is different. acre. We now have circulation areas within the building that are common because they are shared by a few families. The upward limit of the semidetached house is eight units to the • All interior spaces are within the private domain of the family. something that • The domain of the house encompasses the street. semiprivate.

and stairs are distributed within the building.Creating Defensible Space areas depends on how the entrances. The grounds at the rear of the unit are also not assigned to individual families and the rear of the units are often used for parking. Figure I–10: Such buildings are often called garden apartments. and at a density of 20 to 30 units to the acre if they are only 2 stories in height. For this reason I would categorize the grounds in front as semipublic space. The electric elevator can comfortably 16 . front and back. landing. but as these are nonelevator buildings. the walkup building is subdi­ vided so that six families share a common entry and interior circulation _ Semipublic _Private ~ Semiprivate I(/<H stair. Entrances from • Grounds can be designated for one family but are usually shared by all the families in the building. The grounds in the front of the unit are also adjacent to a public street. These are elevator buildings and commonly come in two sizes. possible to modify the design of the rear grounds to make some of the areas private and the remainder semiprivate. Public Walkup buildings and the nature of spaces in and around them. belong to all the families living in the building. however. usually exit to the outside at both the front and rear. they cannot be consid­ ered private. We come now to the last of our three building types: the highrise. • The interior lobby. The least expensive elevator is the hydraulic. It is. Walkups can be built at a density of 30 to 40 units per acre if they are 3 stories in height. the 3story walkup has fallen out of favor with the decline in housing demand. corridors. but it has an upward limit of six stories. • Only a small number of families (three to six) share the interior circulation areas and grounds. Two families per floor share a common • Private space is within the apartment unit only. and I will demonstrate how to do that shortly. the grounds at the back would also have to be considered semipublic. Three-story walkups were commonly built in the 1950s and 1960s. In figure I–10. Because the grounds surrounding 3-story walkups. stairs. In such a case. and corridor are semiprivate. the common staircase • The street is within the sphere of influence of the dwellings. depending on the type of elevator used.

whether it be the interior circulation areas of a building or the grounds outside. _private lIB Semiprivate _ Semipublic W\j))j Public • Private space exists only within the apartment units.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles go up to 30 stories. When the numbers increase. the less each individual feels rights to it. Even the corridors on each floor are shared by 13 families and are acces­ sible from 2 sets of stairs and 2 elevators that are very public. The larger the number of people who share a communal space. ■ Summary of the effect of building type on behavior A family’s claim to a territory diminishes proportionally as the number of families who share that claim increases. Figure I–11: The elevator highrise and the nature of space in and around it. but any use is permissible. The larger the number of people who share a territory. The 15-story building at the right has 195 families sharing common inte­ rior areas. • The interior circulation areas and the grounds are public. because of their disassociation from any of the individual units. and the fact that they are shared by 195 families. the more difficult it is for people to identify it as theirs or to feel they have a right to control or determine the activity taking place within it. can only be designated as public. The outside grounds. Therefore. Because of the large num­ ber of people sharing them. with only a few families sharing an area. the opportunity for reaching such an implicit understanding diminishes to the point that no usage other than walking through the area is really possible. It is easier for outsiders to gain access to and linger in the interior areas of a building 17 . For this reason I would have to designate these corridors as semipublic. if not public. these interior areas can only be designated as semipublic or even public. but it is usually used in 10.to 16-story apartment buildings. it is relatively easy for an informal understanding to be reached among the families as to what constitutes acceptable usage. • There is no association between buildings and street.

rather than public. and I–14 graphically summarize the major differences between residents’ ability to control the areas around their homes and public streets. In addi­ tion. except for the streets and sidewalks. The three illustrations show the same four-block area of a city. and the family car is parked at the curb. Only the central portion of the roadbed can be considered fully public. I–13. we find an urban fabric in which most of the outdoor areas and all of the indoor areas are private. Examining the entire four-block area.Creating Defensible Space shared by 24 to 100 families than it is in a building shared by 6 to 12 families. Each city block has been subdivided so that all the grounds. In fact they are only accessible from the interior of the dwelling units. which are fully enclosed. are desig­ nated semiprivate. The rear yards. ■ The effect of building type on residents’ control of streets If we examine the three building types from the viewpoint of residents’ ability to exert control over surrounding streets. each developed using a different building type. a good portion of what is a legally public street is viewed by resi­ dents as an extension of their dwellings and under their sphere of Figure I–12: A four-city-block row-house development. are private. Residents’ attitudes suggest that they consider this sidewalk and parking area as semipublic. This is further reinforced by the fact that their semiprivate lawn abuts the sidewalk. because each belongs to an individual family. The close juxtaposition of each dwelling unit and its entry to the street contributes to the incorporation of the sidewalk into the sphere of influ­ ence of the inhabitants of the dwelling. Figure I–12 is an illustration of a rowhouse development built at a density of 18 units to the acre. 18 . Figures I–12. The front lawns. are assigned to individual families. we again find marked differences.

But even with all these limitations. In actual fact. the side- walk and street are not clear extensions of the realms of individual dwelling units. with access to them from the interior of their unit. '.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles influence: that is. As in the row-house scheme in figure I–12. making the remainder of the interior cluster semiprivate. this time accommodating 3-story garden apartments built at a density of 36 units to the acre. all the entries face the street. These patios are therefore private. even the activity in this central portion would be considered accountable to neighboring residents. If the street were narrow. Parking again is on the street immediately in front of each dwelling. Because of the close jux­ taposition of the street to the private front lawn of each dwelling. but each entry now serves six families rather than one and is thus semiprivate rather than private. The remainder of the interior court belongs to all the families sharing a clus­ ter and is only accessible from the semiprivate interior circulation space of each building. Figure I–13 shows the same four-block area. _S em ip ub lie Figure I–13: A four-city-block garden apartment development. The rear courts within the interior of each cluster have been assigned both to individual families and to all the families sharing the cluster. . the neighboring sidewalk and parking zone on the street are considered by many residents as areas over which they exert some control. The small front lawn adjacent to each building entry is the collective area for that entry’s inhabitants and is therefore semiprivate. 19 . residents are con­ cerned about ensuring its safety and act to maintain and control it. The families living on the ground floor have been given their own patios within the interior courts. Because of the semiprivate nature of the grounds. the sidewalk and that portion of the roadbed on which their cars are parked. only the very central portion of each street is truly public in nature. The streets and grounds are encompassed within the domain of the multifamily dwellings.

The residents.Creating Defensible Space Figure I–14 is the same four-block area shown in figures I–12 and I–13. The city streets and sidewalks. but now developed as a highrise superblock at a density of 50 dwelling units to the acre. elevators. The placement of the highrise towers on the interior grounds has pro­ duced a system of off-street parking and access paths to the building that involves many turns and blind corners. The proclivity of landscape designers for positioning shrubs exactly at turns in the paths increases the hazards of these access routes. The grounds around the buildings are accessible to everyone and are not assigned to particu­ lar buildings. All the streets and grounds are public. so are the sidewalks and streets. 20 . All the grounds of the project must be maintained by management and patrolled by a hired security force. feel little association with or responsibility for the grounds and even less association with the surrounding public streets. Residents in such developments complain about the dangers of walking into the grounds to get to their buildings at night. in turn. but no building entries face them. and corridors. must be maintained by the city sanitation department and patrolled by city police. Each building entry serves 50 families by means of an interior circulation system consisting of a public lobby. as a consequence. Not only are the streets distant from the units. residents are able to move in a Figure I–14: A four-city-block highrise development. and. fire stairs. In these latter cases. This problem does not arise in traditional row-house or walkup developments where building entries face the street and are set back from the sidewalk no more than 10 to 20 feet. Nor do these fears occur in highrise buildings whose entries face the streets and are only set back slightly from them. as a result. This design succeeds in making public the entire ground surface of the four-block area. The grounds of the development that abut the sidewalks are also public.

Small play and sitting areas have been provided near the entry to each walkup.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles straight line from the relative safety of the public street to what they can observe to be the relative safety of the well lighted lobby area in the interior of their buildings. The highrise project has all building entries facing the interior grounds of the development. whereas the highrises have 60 families sharing a common entry. while the one on the right brings the streets within the control of the residents. The project on the right is only three stories in height and has all the buildings and their entries juxtaposed with the city streets or the interior streets and parking. Parking has been designed as a continuous strip along the street. Both projects are designed at the same density and with similar parking provisions (40 units to the acre and 1 parking space per unit). Each entry faces the street and serves only 6 families. further disassociating the buildings from the street. The project on the left is turned in on itself. Figure I–15 shows two housing projects located across the street from one another: a garden apartment complex on the right and a highrise on the left. 21 . away from the public street. This Figure I–15: A highrise and a walkup built at the same density.

all 24 families share 2 common entrances and 8 families share a common corridor on each floor. figure I–16 shows two ways of configuring a three-story walkup. the smaller number of families sharing an entry and landing allows the families to control the public spaces better: They can more readily recognize residents from strangers and feel they have a say Figure I–16: Comparison of two ways to subdivide the same building envelope to serve the same number of families. What is true for site design is also true for building design: The same build­ ing envelope can be subdivided in different ways to produce dramatically different results. Municipalities that wish to reap the benefits of walkup versus highrise buildings must learn to be flexible with their floor-area-ratio requirements to assure that they are not depriving residents of a better housing option in order to get more open ground space that has little purpose. The residents in the walkup are a very short distance from the sur­ rounding streets. and parking. but in radically different ways. and because of the positioning of the building entries. The walkup develop­ ment achieves the same density as the highrise by covering more of the grounds (37 percent ground coverage versus 24 percent). the neighboring streets are brought within the sphere of influence of inhabitants.Creating Defensible Space serves to extend into the street the sphere of influence of each of the six families. Both buildings serve a total of 24 families each. For instance. In the lower design. and only 2 families share a common landing on each floor. In the upper layout. only 6 families share a common entry. In the lower design. This is a very high density that will satisfy the economic demands of high land costs. play areas. 22 . Another important lesson to learn from this comparison is that 2 radi­ cally different building configurations can be produced at the same density: in this case a density of 40 units to the acre with 1-to-1 parking. although access to the corridors on each floor is open to all 24 families in the building.

followed by building height or the number of families sharing the entry to a building.25 (5) .54 (5) . If this were a two-story building rather than a three-story building.26 (4) . Those social variables that correlated highly with different types of crime also correlated highly with each other. Figure I–17 shows the influence of different social and physical factors on the crime rates in low.49 N.22 (3) .36 (4) . such as.01 level of significance at +. Figure I–17: Crime rates as explained by social and physical variables. it would have been possible.26 Robbery rate (1) . In figure I–17 the percentage of popu­ lation receiving welfare is shown to be the most important factor. The technique isolates those factors that contribute to the effect most strongly and independently of other factors. These include: the percent- age of resident population receiving welfare (excluding the elderly). a Numbers in parentheses indicate rank order of correlation in creating stepwise multiple regressions.21.36 (3) .36 (3) .41 (5) .and moderate-income housing developments is useful not only for devising remedies to solve their problems but also for develop­ ing strategies for stabilizing neighboring communities composed of single-family housing.33 Felony rate (1) .47 (2) .25 Indoor robbery rate (1) . This analytical technique called stepwise regression analysis is employed when many different factors interact to produce a particular effect.41 (4) .22 ■ Social factors and their interaction with the physical (2) .Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles in determining accepted behavior. Correlations with dependent variables Social and physical variables Percentage of population receiving welfare Building height (number of units per entry) Project size (number of apartments) Percentage of families with female head on AFDC Number of publicly assisted projects in area Felony rate of surrounding community Per capita disposable income Indoor felony rate (1)a.27 (4) . . in the lower design. a rise in crime rates. 23 .C. .51 (2) .27.and moderate-income projects operated by the New York City Housing Authority.05 level of significance at +.44 (5) .36 (3) . Housing Authority police data for 1967: 87 housing projects. the percentage of one-parent families receiving Aid to Families with Depen­ dent Children (AFDC).46 (2) . An understanding of the interac­ tion of the social and physical factors that create high crime rates in low.Y. to give each family its own individual entry directly off the street and thus avoid having any interior public spaces at all. and the per capita disposable income of the project’s residents.

then we can anticipate that a large number of such families gathered together in one area may aggravate the crime problems still further and increase the per capita crime rate. suffer a higher crime rate than small or isolated projects even when the percentage of AFDC families remains the same in all the projects. and the commission of crime against residents in ghetto areas requires minimal skill and risk. Thus.Creating Defensible Space My interviews with residents. and the number of other publicly assisted housing projects in the area. and (2) those such as “building height” or “the number of units per entry” that affect the ability of residents to control their environment. if not condoned. are unable to demand much in the way of police pro­ tection. the poor. and police provide the fol­ lowing explanation for the correlation of these social factors and crime rates: A one-parent household headed by a female is more vulnerable to criminal attack. management. The first class of physical factors may also be considered another class of social variable: For instance. which in turn correlates highly with the number of apartments sharing the entry to a building. the size of the housing project or “the total number of dwelling units in the project”. if certain social characteristics such as the percentage of AFDC families correlate highly with crime rate. The significance of this aggregation is not simply that the presence of more potential criminals creates proportionally more crime. the criminal activity by the poor is tolerated. large low-income projects. families with only one adult present are less able to con­ trol their teenage children. The physical factors that correlate most strongly with crime rates are. but also that a concentration of potential criminals actually increases the rate of crime. young teenage AFDC mothers are often vic­ timized by their boyfriends. and particularly the poor of racial minorities. among the poor. The above suggests that two classes of physical factors contribute to crime rates: (1) those such as “project size” or the “number of publicly assisted projects in the area” that reinforce social weakness and pathol­ ogy. in order of importance: the height of the buildings. or low-income projects sur­ rounded by other low-income projects. 24 .

By contrast the residents of large. Of a total of 8. by throwing the driver out and driving the truck into the project. 3.S. Regardless of the social character­ istics of inhabitants. the influence of building height and number of units per entry in predicting crime rate.611 felonies reported in all New York City Housing Authority projects in 1969 (excluding intrahousehold incidents). the physical form of housing was shown to play an important role in reducing crime and in assisting residents in controlling behavior in their housing environments. Of the crimes 25 . therefore. A traffic light at an intersection that borders the project forces truckers to stop there on their way into New York. and elevators. or 44 percent.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles A frequent complaint from residents of communities surrounding large public housing projects is that the teenage criminals living in the projects make use of the large. Highway 1 entering New York City. Teenage project residents have developed a pattern of hijacking trucks at the stoplight. committed when members of the family are either away from home or asleep. In addition to the fact that buildings with a large number of families sharing an entry experience higher crime rates than those with few fami­ lies per entry. they are also vulnerable to additional types of criminal activity. were committed in the interior public areas of buildings.786. The truck is then emptied in a matter of minutes and the loot hidden in vacant apartments. For example. multifam­ ily dwellings experience both burglaries and robberies. These are also the areas where criminals wait to approach their victims and force them into apartments for the purpose of robbing them. there is a particularly notorious project in Jersey City that is located adjacent to U. Most of the crime experienced by residents of single-family buildings is burglary. stairs. The most fascinating finding to come out of the data analysis presented in Defensible Space (1972) was. The higher crime rate experienced by residents in large multifamily dwellings is mostly attrib­ utable to the occurrence of robberies in the interior common-circulation areas of multifamily buildings: lobbies. hallways. The relationship between the socioeconomic characteristics of residents and a project’s crime rate had long been suspected. anonymous environment of the housing project as a place to retreat and hide.

3. ameliorate the effect of many of the problems created by the concentration of low-income one-parent fami­ lies with teenage children. the physical characteristics of the buildings and the project can exert a counteracting influence. Although two-parent moderate-income families suffer higher crime rates in highrise buildings than they do in walkups. These are the further results of the 1972 Defensible Space analysis of New York City housing authority data. the more difficult it is for a code of behavior following societal norms to become established among residents. It shows that low-income one-parent families are more vulnerable to poor building design than moderate-income twoparent families.Creating Defensible Space Felony rate (crimes per 1. were robberies. It is even difficult for moderate-income families with two adult heads of household to cope with crime and van­ dalism problems in poorly designed environments. 41 percent. o Figure I–18: Variations in crime rate as produced by different socioeconomic groups occupying different building types. but when poor and broken families are grouped together in such a setting. The public housing projects now experienc­ ing the highest vacancy rates are those that consist of the worst mixture of social and physical attributes. Although the socioeconomic charac­ teristics of the residents exert a strong influence on crime rate. the results are nothing short of disastrous. and other. 8 percent. 22 percent. roof land­ ings. two adult heads of household 3–4 Floor Walkups 6–7 Floor 12–30 Floor Medium rises Highrises 60 40 20 committed in interior public areas.000 families) 80 Low-income. The physical form of residential environment can. hallways. Moderate-income 2-parent families living 26 . 2 percent. or 84 percent. 9 percent. the crime rate does not increase as dramatically with building height as it does for low-income families. The more complex and anonymous the housing environment. The breakdown by location of the felonies taking place in interior pub­ lic areas was: elevators. stairways.165. female heads of household Moderateincome. Figure I–18 compares the vulnerability to crime of low-income one-parent families in different building types with the experience of moderateincome two-parent families living in the same building types. lobbies. 18 percent. in fact.

27 . just not there.and 7-story buildings. at present. and the need for such a concentration of the elderly is.000-unit agglomeration will meanwhile have been devastated—no place to be putting the elderly. Elderly people do not like walking stairs and appreciate an elevator building. The elderly would be victimized and refuse to live in such an environment. do very well in highrise buildings as long as the buildings are kept exclusively for the elderly.000-unit agglomerations. and their elderly neighbors become their new extended family. But one should not conclude from this that highrises are not suitable for other lifestyle groups. because it has proven unusable for welfare families with children. ■ The suitability of building types to lifestyle groups I have explained the problems resulting from housing low-income fami­ lies with children in highrise buildings. Chicago. even those of low income. For instance. the com­ munity surrounding such a 1. Also.to 30-story buildings experience a lower crime rate than lowincome 1-parent families living in 6. the grounds surrounding their building can also be secured and defined for their exclusive use. may lend itself to conversion for the exclusive use of the elderly. we should not jump for joy too quickly. It would not be wise to convert 1 of 10 highrise buildings for the elderly. we can create a security station at the building entry door that can be manned by elderly volunteers. If a problem arises.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles in 12. However. At the push of an elevator button. while keeping the adja­ cent 9 buildings for families with children. a push of a button summons the police. elderly people. Many of our highrise public housing projects in large cities like New York. The lesson we can learn from this is that some of the highrise stock we have inherited. and Boston were built as 1. With the use of gates and fencing. they can have access to a hundred other families within a highrise building. Retired elderly often live away from their children. If we also design the ground floor of an elderly highrise as a communal and recreation area.

Creating Defensible Space Finally. education. even when highrises exist in isolation. The two physical factors were the size of the development and the number of families sharing common entries into a building. the only variables that lend themselves to modification are the physical. Project size is a measure of the overall concentration of low-income families in a project or cluster of projects. the more residents felt isolated from the rest of society and felt their perceived differences to be greater. allowing even one gang or group of drug dealers to contaminate all of its public space. parks and recreation. Project size affects stig­ matization—as perceived both by the outside world and by the project residents themselves. elevators. and San Francisco. refuse collection. We found that the larger the concentration. the more difficult it is to lay 28 . first on the part of the residents. A large project provides a continuous area in which gangs can operate. 1980) involved 44 moderate-income housing sites and 29 public housing sites in three cities: Newark. The larger the number of units sharing common entries is a measure of how public the interior corridors. As public housing has become housing for the poorest of the poor. The two social factors were the percentage of families on AFDC and the ratio of teenagers to adults. The apathy that comes with stigmatization leads to neglect and withdrawal. quality of city police and security services. St. project size and the number of apartments sharing common entries. and form of ownership. The results showed that two physical factors and two social factors accounted for most of the variation. ■ Factors influencing crime and instability Our institute’s study of the Factors Influencing Crime and Instability in Federally-Assisted Housing (Newman and Franck. management effectiveness. and stairs are. then by hous­ ing management. The more residents who have to share common areas. including socioeconomic characteristics. and finally by the municipal agencies that service the project: police. and social services. It used a path analysis to take into account the influence of other factors. Louis. the cost of converting a building made up of three-bedroom apartments into one-bedroom units may be prohibitive.

Building size has a statistically significant direct causal effect on resi­ dents’ behavior as follows: (i) Use of public areas in their development [– 0.59 of a unit increase in fear of crime.50]. independent of socioeconomic. (ii) Social interaction with their neighbors [– 0. These findings can be interpreted as follows: A unit increase in the percentage of AFDC families living in a development will produce 0. and on crimes against persons of 0.Chapter One: Defensible Space Principles claim to them. and guard service factors. However. the socioeconomic characteristics of resi­ dents have a total causal effect on fear of crime of 0. 29 . on community instability of 0. it means that an increase in building size has a negative effect on that behavior. (iii) Sense of control over the interior and exterior public areas of their development [– 0.39]. and crime. independent of other factors that are also likely to predict it. ownership. the more difficult it is to distinguish other residents from intruders.38] and on community instability [0. the numbers in brackets mean that an increase of 1 unit in building size will cause a reduction of 0. Further results of our path analysis showed that building size has impor­ tant causal effects on fear of crime [0.32.29].50 of a unit in resi­ dents’ use of public areas. the findings from our study of moderate-income developments showed that the socioeconomic characteristics of residents also have strong causal effects on fear. Community instability is measured by apart­ ment turnover and vacancy rates and by residents’ desire to move. This demonstrates that building form has a very strong predictive capacity on public area use.59. Independent of other factors. instability. as in the 1970 New York City public housing study discussed earlier.31]. and the more difficult it is to agree with other residents on the care and control of these areas.51. In the case of residents’ use of public areas. police. If the number is preceded by a minus. for instance. managerial. The numbers within the brackets below show the amount of variation in residents’ behavior that is explained by building size.

instability. 30 .001). and police and guard service together produce the following: R 2 = 0. Another way of stating these findings is that the combination of these factors predict 69 percent of the variation in fear.05). The effects of building size. of all the factors in the predictive model. and crime.69 for fear (p < 0.001). socioeconomic characteristics of residents.Creating Defensible Space The data from this analysis can be summarized in still another way by looking at the results of the regression analysis. R2 = 0. The R2 is a sign used to represent the percent of variance in one factor that is predicted by all other factors acting together. it is the socioeconomic characteristics of residents and building size that together predict most of the variation in fear.39 for crimes against persons (p < 0. But more important still. and R2 = 0.67 for community instability (p < 0. form of ownership. management performance. for instance.

S. The replace­ ment population was initially composed of working-class homeowner families. is a one-half-square mile residential area located a mile north of the downtown.and two-family homes and some small apart­ ment buildings. the visual presence of drug dealers and prostitutes. and office buildings. minority renters. middle. manufacturing. single-family homes being converted to multifamily use. and general disinvestment. violent crimes increased by 77 percent. Dayton. the continuing replacement of white.Mini-neighborhoods in TWO Five Oaks.000 people.000 households. vandalism by 38 percent. Like most American cities. census showed that in the 10 years between 1980 and 1990. robberies by 76 percent. or about 5. the community went from a population of mostly white homeowners to 50-percent African American and 60-percent renter. The exodus of the middle-class population from the city was accompanied by the relocation of shopping facilities. Dayton experienced rapid suburban expansion following World War II. During the year before the Defensible Space modifications were under- taken. It contains 2. 31 31 . The U. but over time these were replaced again by lower income renters who were mostly African American. The problems experienced by Five Oaks are typical of older urban com­ munities located near the downtown core: heavy through traffic. rising crime. Ohio.and working-class property owners with low-income. inhabiting one. and overall crime by 16 percent. Not only was Figure II–1: Map locating Five Oaks and downtown Dayton. Ohio C H A P T E R The Five Oaks community in Dayton. Note the expressway that connects downtown to the suburbs and the exit ramp at the foot of the Five Oaks community.

Every second house in Five Oaks was up for sale. blaring boomboxes meant to attract drug purchasers disturbed everyone’s sleep. For this reason many in the city government felt that what happens to Five Oaks will happen to the rest of Dayton. Five Oaks is a community symptomatic of the city’s problems and aspirations. But Five Oaks’ location between the downtown and the suburbs also turned its interior streets into a network of cut-through traffic as com­ muters used them to avoid the larger. Neighborhoods beautifully constructed in the 1920s border this downtown. while regional values rose 6 percent. Children were virtually kept locked up in their homes. It is encountered on a daily ba­ sis by those coming to the downtown area to work and shop. Five Oaks is one of these. 35 percent was found to be cutting through the neighborhood. The general effect was to burden its streets so heavily as to make them unsuitable for normal. but the results were only temporary. Figure II–2: Typical street in Five Oaks. If Five Oaks fell. 32 .Creating Defensible Space crime increasing at a maddening pace. Downtown Dayton still retains some of its finer old office and shopping buildings. traffic-laden arterials at the periph­ ery of the community. ironically. pimps. but drug dealers. and pros­ titutes had brazenly taken over the streets. The Dayton Area Board of Realtors reported that sales values had dropped by 11 percent in that 1 year. most of the cut-through traffic was headed. the byproduct of these illicit activities. A 13-member police strike force hit the neighborhood round the clock every few months. and speeding cars. there would be a domino effect on the surrounding communities. and it serves as a gateway between the downtown and the subur­ ban residential communities to the north. threatened people in their own streets. quiet residential use—a use common to cul-de-sac streets in the suburbs where. Of Five Oaks’ total traffic volume. Gun shots could be heard at all times of the day and night.

prostitutes. The lack of shared values and aspirations among neighbors increased feelings of iso­ lation and the perception of being on their own. did suspect that the frequency of burglaries and auto thefts in the community stemmed directly from drug-related activities. Unable to sell their homes for a price that would pay off their outstand­ ing mortgages. Dayton.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. they represented. middle-class buyers. transient renters who were seen as a threat to the stability of the neighborhood. The noisy and blatantly evident traffic of drug dealers. Houses were selling for one-half to one-quarter of their replacement cost. and severely deteriorated. and visually evident. So the activity moved to Five Oaks. The only buyers were slumlords. 33 . Ohio Five Oaks was also experiencing social problems: The dynamics of population change in the community had led to increased tensions between the older. The result of these inexpensive and inadequate conversions was the rapid. and their clients was disturbing to the community out of all proportion to the number of vehicles. The community had entered a spiral of decline that appeared irreversible. The police. or one neighbor asking the other for more careful garbage disposal. It was per­ ceived as too dangerous a place to buy drugs and solicit prostitutes by white. Five Oaks was perceived as an ideal community for drug dealing directed at middle-income outsiders. One wonders if the drug purchasers thought that the residents of Five Oaks would protect them or call the police if a drug deal went sour or a pimp got too greedy. was perceived as intolerance and incivility. because of its location and socioeconomic makeup and the perception that it was still safe. but that community had become predominantly Afri­ can American. however. permanent homeowners and the new. such as children playing in the street. To the immediate west of Five Oaks is a community that also had drug dealers working its streets. deterioration of the housing stock. 30 percent vacant. Even the most innocent of activities. many homeowners had moved away and rented them— often in subdivided form and at times illegally and in a substandard fashion. This led to a reluctance on the part of neighboring homeowners to keep up their own properties. Ironically. or threat.

constructed of brick and stone and situated on large lots. Still other streets contain twostory. Some of the arterial streets have medium highrise apart­ ment buildings on them. Five times as many houses were being lost as were being refur­ bished. others have wood frame houses on small lots. stately homes on them. one that would visibly alter the entire pattern of use and would make itself evident at the scale of the whole community.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–3: Deteriorated two-story walkup in Five Oaks being rented to drug dealers. The problem with the city’s program of refurbishing single homes scattered throughout Five Oaks was that it did not produce any visual evidence of rehabilitative change at the scale of the entire community. The community also houses some important institutions: The Grandview hospital complex.and threestory apartment buildings. serves the entire urban region. located in the southeast quadrant of Five Oaks. Community and municipal efforts to acquire and refur­ bish deteriorated housing had barely any impact. 34 . while others house two. rented to them and let their properties decline still further—pulling the condition of adjacent housing down with them. two-family houses that share a common wall. who found that drug dealers were unde­ manding tenants. An immediate change to the infrastructure was necessary. Five Oaks contains a variety of different types of housing: Some streets have large. Slumlords. two large parochial schools on Figure II–4: Street in Five Oaks with various building types.

N. Dayton. :~~~~~~~~~i~~~!~~~gi~!~~ _ <. Its southern boundary is a mixed residential and institutional street called Grand Avenue. serve the broader city as well as the immediate community. Creating Mini-Neighborhoods in the Five Oaks Residential Community ~~llIi>OOOD=VW. .Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks.:. The northern boundary of Five Oaks is a residential street called Delaware Avenue.lj.Y.. The remaining 2 sectors have 43-percent and 49-percent renters. the Prcpued rorth..v ~~. Institute for Community Design Analysis l~D o~ ~r Oreat Neck.t4:' ~~o~D~~~~ City of Dayton b.~. Lauderdale. Pl. Corpus Christi and Dayton Christian. A further mixed-use residential and commercial street defines a portion of the Five Oaks boundary to the east: Forest Avenue. Ohio the east side of Five Oaks.. The west and east borders of Five Oaks are defined by two major arteri­ als that link northern suburban Dayton with downtown Dayton (Salem Avenue on the west and North Main on the east). Pt. Figure II–5: Map of Five Oaks showing internal streets and arterial boundaries. Most of the traffic on the streets of Five Oaks was perceived as going through the neighborhood heading for suburban destinations to the north.~~. 35 .m-w:l. The 1990 census revealed that 3 of the 5 sectors that compose Five Oaks have 64-percent or more renters.

Dayton has a vacancy rate of only 6 percent.000 and $55. A larger. could be purchased for Figure II–7: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of African-American renters in different areas. city government. on a larger lot. the data reveal that many homeowners have moved away and are renting their units in either their origi­ nal form or subdivided. a wood frame and shingled. Figure II–7 shows that most of the renters in Five Oaks are African American. and hospitals. the universities. Figure II–8 shows that the three sectors of Five Oaks that have a high percentage of renters also have a high vacancy rate. and the craftsmen who put them together are of a bygone era. brick house with ornate architecture. Because African Ameri­ cans earn about two-thirds the income of whites. quality woodwork and glass. well-constructed houses could not be easily replicated today: Their materials are too costly. 36 . three-bedroom house on a small lot sold for between $45.Creating Defensible Space Because most of the dwellings in Five Oaks consist of one. Citywide. Its large. Figure II–6: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of renters in different areas. depending on its condition. Despite the evident change revealed by the census data. At the low end. This is partially because they were unable to sell their homes at reasonable prices. ranging from 10 percent to 29 percent. it would appear that the rental market is at the lower end of the scale.000. 1990. 1990. Five Oaks contin­ ued to be attractive to people work­ ing for institutions located in the downtown area: for example.and two-family houses.

and there was some disagreement in people’s minds about what it meant. the racially mixed residential community near Dayton’s downtown. and lectures to both the city staff and the community at large. from the horse’s mouth. From the positive response to this initial visit by residents and staff came a request from the city manager for our institute to embark on a program that would produce schematic plans for the modification of two commu­ nities: Five Oaks.000. a predominantly AfricanAmerican public housing project. Ohio $75. Major Durham-Jefferson had supplied me with the demographic and crime data I had requested and scheduled all the meetings. stately houses on large lots that had a replacement cost of more than $500. night and day tours of many of Dayton’s communities.000 could be purchased for just over $100. would I care to take a first-hand look at the communities in question?” I was not sure whether I was being asked or told. and Dunbar Manor. “was talking Defensible Space as a remedy to some of its crime and traffic problems. Louis. Major Jaruth Durham-Jefferson."- ~ Our institute first became involved in Five Oaks when the Dayton Police Department’s superintendent of com­ iJ munity relations.000. ~ S\ I 4% ■ Initiating the process IOro\. made an inquiring telephone call.” she said. a two-family brick house with each unit having two bedrooms could be purchased for as little as $58. The city manager hoped that by having city staff work closely with me. they could learn how it was done and could then " Figure II–8: Map of Five Oaks showing percent of vacancies in different areas. Dayton.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Should one be interested in rental property. what it was all about? And while I was there. 1990 37 . “The Dayton community. These two communities were typical of many in Dayton.000. She was a forceful but charming African American who had heard of my work with street closures in St. In preparation. meetings with key city officials and staff. Would I care to come for a visit so they could hear. That telephone call led to a 3-day trip. The large.

gar­ bage collection. The city manager had assembled most department heads. snow removal. ■ Initial presentations to city staff and the community The initial 3-day visit to Five Oaks was critical in determining whether the city and community would buy into the concept. it is essential also to have the mayor. I particularly insisted on having all those people who were likely to be most opposed to the concept present. Ray Reynolds. and 38 . The chief of police was also present. and traffic. At this initial meeting. “is to see what is going down at night. emergency response. Police rep­ resentatives attended all meetings with the community and city staff.” During that night tour we witnessed a drug raid by police in the public housing project and saw drug dealing and prostitutes on many streets within Five Oaks. The day-to-day running of the Five Oaks project was assigned to the city’s director of urban development.Creating Defensible Space apply the methodology elsewhere themselves. He asked the planning department and highway department to each assign a staff person to work with me full time while I was in Dayton. Major Durham-Jefferson looked a little concerned. community relations. so as not to create a disturbance. drug dealers vied with each other to make a sale. This informs the city department heads that the concept is being taken seriously. The police also made crime data available as needed and were a con­ tinuing supportive presence. but he was expected to be a proponent of the idea. planning. The chief of police himself attended the large public presentations. rather than in a police car. The next morning’s meeting with city staff was scheduled early so as not to disrupt their working day. the city manager. We drove in Major Durham-Jefferson’s own car. and a few city council members present. The night of my arrival I insisted on a tour of the neighborhoods we would be visiting the next day. In this book I will only talk about the Five Oaks portion of our work in Dayton because the modifications to the Dunbar Manor public housing project have yet to be completed or evaluated. including: fire.” I told her. Not knowing our identity. “The only way to find out what we’re dealing with.

the fire and ambulance people were going to have to memorize new routes for getting to places quickly. For instance. we proposed something they thought was unworkable. elected officials. a planner must take into account where all the opposition to his concepts is likely to come from and address them first. and it was going to disrupt traffic flow. from the start. and I sat around a table together. the city staff. It was going to complicate how they collected garbage and how they removed snow. I told them that they were free to interrupt at any time with any questions. but it is just as important to know that as to learn the inter­ nal pecking order and priorities at city hall. but sitting with them at the table rather than talking from a podium. We would not proceed with the plan until we felt we had arrived at something everyone could accept. In planning mini-neighborhoods. I wanted them to say so. at any time. Using a slide projector. Sometimes what is being expressed as objective opposition to the idea has its origin in per­ sonal politics. in Dayton. what their con­ cerns are. but it was also going to make a big difference to the life and viability of communities and to the city’s tax base. because it would reduce crime. and stabilize neighborhoods. If. I have found that. it is very important to get to know all the players and what is bothering them. He must understand who all the players are. He felt that he should 39 . At the initial meeting.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. the current director of the planning department had just been demoted from assistant city manager by a new administration. This is as true for the politics within city hall as it is for neighborhood rivalries. and how to involve them in the process. That meant that representatives from every city department would be involved in every step of the process. We would then try to find a way to modify what we were planning so as to accommodate them. I explained the Defensible Space con­ cept by showing what I had done in other cities. Dayton. increase property values. I explained that the reason they were the very first in the city to see the concept was that I knew they were not going to like it. Ohio they look to elected officials for guidance about whether to be receptive to the idea and give their cooperation. I then explained that the plan would only be prepared with their con­ tinual participation. Mini-neighborhoods only work if the community and the city staff really accept the idea.

I gave a formal presentation to a previously well-publicized town meeting. A few hundred people attended. the discussion often went off on tangents—old wounds were opened. Following that initial meeting. I took slides as we walked and had them developed within the hour so that they could be incorporated into later presentations. but soon realized that something more was wrong. I again showed slides about what I had accomplished in other cities. try­ ing out ideas on them about which streets to close. I tried to sidestep the planning director rather than engage in long public discussions with him. this is a source of useful information. It is important that this community meeting be chaired by a city staff person and that city staff appear at the podium with me to help answer some questions. That evening. I toured Five Oaks in a minivan with community leaders and city staff. Even though one of his staff was assigned to me full time. Once I knew that. On tour. I explained the concept to them and sought their input. the appearance given is of an outsider telling the community how to do things. the planning director kept raising philosophical and opera­ tional objections to the evolving plans. we frequently stopped to walk the streets and alleys. This was intended as an opportunity for everyone to relax. However. and the planning director was not going to do anything to help it along.Creating Defensible Space have been made the coordinator of this project rather than the city’s director of urban development. Following the neighborhood tour. With neighborhood people coming into contact with so many city department heads. Otherwise. picking up residents along the way who had earlier been alerted. I invited the city manager and the director of urban development out for a drink and learned that the planning director had hoped that he would become the new city manager. but this time I also in­ cluded slides of the streets I had just walked through to show how simi­ lar the situations were. As many community people and city personnel as possible were invited. and it gives city staff a sense of what is taking place on the streets of their neighborhoods. I attempted to address them all. 40 . we all had lunch together at an infor­ mal eating place. The Five Oaks plan was the new city manager’s first showcase project. The presentation was followed by an open question period that lasted more than an hour.

Five Oaks demonstrated that once people came together within their own mini-neighborhood. In other cities. Limiting access and egress to one opening for each mini-neighborhood means that criminals and their clients would have to think about coming into a mini-neighborhood to transact their business. Such a street system will clearly be perceived by criminals. will likely also diminish as both parties living on the same closed street come to know each other through greater association and are able to develop standards of mutually acceptable behavior together. as they would have to leave the same way they entered. Parents will watch their children playing in the now quiet streets and get to know each other. that the gates will only restrict vehicular traffic: Pedestrians will be able to freely walk everywhere they did before. Tensions between renters and property owners. and the concern over incivilities. will be lim­ ited to only one entry off an arterial street. as too risky in which to do business. I explain what the restructuring of streets to create mini-neighborhoods accomplishes: It alters the entire look and function of the community. There would no longer be a multi­ tude of escape routes open to them down every city street. mini-neighborhoods have not 41 . and particularly by their clients. By limiting vehicular access. and it completely changes the character of the streets (instead of being long. they reached out to other neighborhoods and to the larger urban community. They will no longer feel locked up in their houses. they become places where children can play safely and neighbors can interact). directional avenues laden with traffic. People will only be able to drive out the same way they came in. it completely removes vehicular through-traffic (the only traffic remaining will be seeking destinations within each minineighborhood). again and again. I explain that access to the newly defined mini-neighborhoods. the streets are perceived as being under the control of the residents.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. A call to the police by any resident would mean that criminals and their clients would be meeting the police on their way out. It is important to explain. which will contain three to six streets. The subdivision of a community into mini-neighborhoods is intended to encourage the interaction of neighbors. Dayton. facing the world alone. Fewer cars make it easier to recognize neighbors—and strangers. Ohio In my presentations.

Wayno. 42 . Louis. Cities can use a variety of means for paying for the modifications: In St. ■ It gives the community more control over the future of the modifica­ tions. This is something we documented in our study of the closed streets of St. while others issued special district tax bonds to pay for the work and taxed the beneficiaries accordingly. Resident participation in paying for the gates is important for three reasons: ■ It instills a sense of ownership. some cities used CDBG funds to pay for the implementation costs. about $10. the middle-income residents almost universally paid for it themselves. and enhancing proprietary feelings is what Defensible Space modifications are all about. down the road. Paying for onehalf the cost of the modifications gives residents a possessive attitude toward the gates and the semiprivate streets they create. At the level of the neigh­ borhood.Creating Defensible Space only arrested decline.000 for each gate serving 30 to 40 households. in Florida. a new city administration decides. the community will have more leverage in preventing the city from removing them if it has paid for one-half the construction costs. If. The cost of creating mini-neighborhoods is low. for whatever reason. Grandin. each household pays about $60 extra in real-estate taxes per year over a 10-year period to cover the cost of the modifications. Louis (Newman. they have made people realize they could intervene to change things. Still other cities split the costs between residents and CDBG or capital improvement funds. 1974) and witnessed not only in Dayton but in our mini-neighborhood projects in Florida. ■ A community’s willingness to cover 50 percent of the cost makes a city more receptive to the idea and gives the project priority in the city’s capital improvement budget. and led them to become active in city politics. Cities are always looking for ways to stretch their limited funds and politicians want to take as much credit as they can in physically evident change. Using the latter method. that it no longer wants the gates. individual act but as an activity done in concert with one’s neighbors. reinvestment in one’s own property no longer has to be undertaken as a risky.

Dayton. and what the plan for their mini-neighborhood will actually look like. people will need to see how the planning process evolves. I called the community together and showed them large plans of Five Oaks. On my sec­ ond trip to Dayton.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. I ask residents and city staff if the consensus is that we continue with the process to see if we can develop a plan or simply stop there. These plans showed each house on each street Figure II–9: Greek cross plan for an ideal mini-neighborhood layout. in deciding which streets should remain open. I specifically do not ask for approval of the concept. 43 . whether their participation genuinely shapes the plan. More importantly. and where the gates should go. people will not be able to believe the improvement in the quality of their lives produced by these changes and will insist that the gates remain. as this is premature: Most people will have heard of the Defensible Space and mini- neighborhood concepts only for the first time. many residents will want the gates removed. After these initial meetings. they will need time to digest them. At the conclusion of these initial meetings. But after 4 months and after residents and their friends have had a chance to learn to find their way around. ■ Community participation in designing the minineighborhoods It is critical to the success of the plan that as many people as possible partici­ pate in defining the boundaries of their mini-neighborhoods. that is. Ohio It is very important to make clear to residents that most of their internal streets will be converted to cul-de-sacs and that in the first few months following the modifications residents. and service people will be inconvenienced. During this initiation period. including some of those who voted to have them installed. the overwhelming majority of Five Oaks resi­ dents voted to continue with the process. their outside friends.

they will encounter others doing the same thing. ■ A mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of streets sharing similar housing characteristics: building type (such as detached. a vertical with two hori­ zontals. for they take resi­ dents too far out of their way and produce too much of their own internal traffic. building size. architectural style. building materials. semidetached. so a mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of no more than three to six streets. and traffic is exactly what we are trying to avoid. the other five will have gates across them. access to the entry portals of each mini-neighborhood should be from existing arterial streets. ■ To facilitate access by emergency vehicles.Creating Defensible Space and each shed in each alley. these arterials should be on the border of the Five Oaks neighborhood to enable outsid­ ers to find their way in easily. In the process. If a mini-neighborhood is made up of a vertical with six horizontals. and walkups). row houses. residents will have to travel too long a distance to get to the end of their mini-neighborhood. 44 . and then they will have to travel all the way back to get out of it. Only one point of the cross will remain open. The optimal configuration for a mini-neighborhood is a Greek cross. As much as possible. setbacks from the street. Figure II–10: Overly large cul-de-sac layout. and density. lot size. I ex­ plained to the residents that they were now going to define their own minineighborhoods and outlined the prin­ ciples they should use in defining them: ■ Smallness is essential to identity. for instance.i. :::) C<J~-DIl'SAC ENTItY Pc)R. This will produce a great amount of internal traffic.'~ ■ Cul-de-sac configurations should not be too large. • +.

. See<' view of their mini-neighborhood... Then I ask if anybody else Schematic showing ideal wants to change that boundary..".u> 1i<l8J)(VIP«P lli"TWliE""l."'A. Dayton... ~I II!!II/II~IIII I J1 Ji J l[ .. yes... Their job is to make certain that every household in their mini-neighborhood is aware of what is being planned and participates in determining which street will remain open and where the gates will be placed.. locate where they live.. 45 . . It is important to keep in mind that this process has two functions: to under- stand the neighborhoods that exist in people’s minds... differences resolved. I ask people to volunteer to become mini-neighborhood captains..L. Ohio ■ Mini-neighborhoods and their access arterials should be designed to facilitate access but discourage through-traffic in the overall Five Oaks community..Jo1lt'5'll. . .. others would say no. .. “First J make an X where you live and then ..~ "':T~ ~~l'" :"'l"" "C-" 0" ~ L 1 I. This will require putting fliers in everyone’s mailbox to announce meetings and city council hearings.-. And so it goes until we reach a consensus. A com­ mon mistake.. gave them each a different JoIf_ colored felt pen...JI J I I I A'lTI!RI.l"'4 I'lou~~ This process inevitably elicits some friendly booing interspersed with Figure II–11: applause.~-OI'F "o. c~·... I would r then ask the no persons to come up and take another colored pen. I I J . way to access minineighborhoods from Such meetings often run for a few hours._to U"SID~Tli\'­ ~ # TUIrT TIt~T H.. in any case...«..."-':-'-' '. and said...f [ !""'! I then asked people to come up to the map. but sometimes it becomes necessary to put in two mini-neighborhoods where you might have anticipated only one. It is usually possible to get any arterials.” Then I asked the rest of the audience: “How many ----.L. and to bring people together to begin planning for their own future. ~Jll I" I \ I ..Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks..I . and draw in their "-'. . l Once the mini-neighborhoods are defined. . II II I LI I I I 1 ] ] 1J11 ~ I II II J L "\11JJIl I_ J ~III tool . show us what you think of as your mini-neighborhood.of you who live nearby agree with their boundaries?” Some would say I I ) jii I I . is to make mini-neighborhoods too large..n ..

They were: Grand and Delaware going east-west. The one-half-square-mile Five Oaks community was divided into 10 mini-neighborhoods. Two of the minineighborhoods. ■ Description of the Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan The final Five Oaks mini-neighborhood plan that evolved under my guidance was very much what the community sketched at its meetings. They found that they could. the materials of construction. Forest. and whether they contained single-family or multifamily buildings. Minor modifications were made to accommodate traffic and emergency vehicle access but always with community approval. Each mini-neighborhood contained between three and six streets. Figure II–12: Mini-neighborhood boundaries of Five Oaks as defined by residents.Creating Defensible Space ■ Traffic studies ROCKFORD KENILWORTH GRAFTON KENWOOD CORPUS CHRISTI HOMEWOOD HARVARD NEAL SQUIRREL GRANDVIEW As soon as the city of Dayton commit­ ted itself to the process. 46 . and Main going north-south. Each mini-neighborhood was defined on the basis of a similarity in the size of the houses and lots. each defined by the characteristics discussed earlier. I asked the highway department to undertake origin-destination studies to determine how much traffic on the streets of Five Oaks was simply driving through the neighborhood. Thirty-five streets and 25 alleys were closed. The remaining eight mini-neighborhoods were primarily residential in character—one included part of the hospital complex. housed the community’s major schools and hospital complex. I then asked them to determine whether the existing arterials at the periphery of Five Oaks would be able to handle the 35-percent cutthrough traffic that would be removed from the neighborhood streets. They found that 35 percent was. Corpus Christi and Grandview. and Salem. The major arterials that defined the periphery of the Five Oaks commu­ nity were retained intact and allowed east-west and north-south move­ ment past the community.

and Squirrel. Grafton. Neal. The other two neighborhoods are Corpus ENTRANCE FEATURES Christi and Grandview. These were the names of the most prominent street within each: Kenilworth. Old Orchard. Neal. Richmond. Dayton. Homewood. and it is difficult to know whether that change was worthwhile. and Rockford. Harvard. Ohio Only one north-south arterial that was internal to the community was retained in my plan. two-way arterials that both define and give access to each of the minineighborhoods were: Five Oaks. This produced some congestion on one or two streets.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. The internal. Kenwood. 47 . Rockford. Figure II–13: Mini-neighborhood plan for Five Oaks showing location of gates and entries into mini-neighborhoods. Richmond. the school and hospital complex. The community later decided that it would prefer to have Richmond interrupted so as to further discourage north-south through-traffic. The 10 mini-neighborhoods were given temporary names for identifica­ tion purposes only. Homewood.

Creating Defensible Space A plan showing the workings of these access arterials and the cul-de-sac streets that serve each mini-neighborhood appears in figure II–13. We also proposed that the pillars be positioned within the roadbed. We also recommended that a brick paving strip be introduced into the roadbed running between the two pillars. inten­ tionally constricting the entry. The bricks are intentionally not raised above the surface of the road so they Figure II–14: Hammerhead turn at end of street. Because the existing streets in Five Oaks are too narrow. A prominent symbol should be used to mark the entry and indicate that one is coming into a private world. These pillars were to be placed to define the outer line of the curbside parking. Only one entrance. but the strip would produce a noise and a noticeable vibration as automobiles ran over it. the cul-de-sac at the end of each street is not actually a cul-desac but is either a hammerhead turn. 48 . This would bring to the drivers’ fur­ ther attention the fact that they were entering a different kind of street. We proposed the use of brick pillars that included the Five Oaks name and the name of the mini-neighborhood. is provided to each mini-neighborhood. and it is the only way out as well. or portal. or makes use of the intersecting alleys to provide a turnaround at the end of each deadend street. The top of the bricks would be level with the road surface. Figure II–15: Proposed portal markers for mini-neighborhoods.

The pillars actually installed by the city were positioned on the sidewalk on the far side of the road. removal equipment. In our design we had proposed two additional smaller gates above the sidewalks on either side of the road. a few residents living near these gates should also be given keys to them. such as access for fire trucks and ambulances. or a building).Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Dayton. Ohio will not interfere with snow I . A standard deadend street sign would also be added to explain that there was no other outlet. The decision to position them this way. Figure II–17: Proposed gates defining mini-neighborhoods. 49 . these gates are able to be opened. To simplify access to all streets by moving vans. These pedestrian gates were to remain open all the time. They are relatively prominent and serve to deter vehicular access while allowing pedestrians entry. shrubs. was the result of the snow removal people saying that pillars located within the roadway would prove a hazard. A fence would then con­ tinue the closure running from the pedestrian gate to some physical element on the adjoining property (fencing. Fire and emergency personnel should be given keys to them. The gates installed by the city limiting access and egress to and from each mini-neighborhood come very close to the ones we designed. Figure II–16: Actual position of portals as installed. They proved to be barely visible and did little to identify the entry portals. rather than the way we proposed. In case of emergencies.

The city also eliminated the lights we proposed for the tops of the pillars. eliminating the pedestrian gate on either side of the road and the fence extension from the pedestrian gate onto the adjacent prop­ erty. These floral solutions must be careful not to interfere with existing drainage patterns. It should be remembered that children would still have to walk through various mini-neighborhoods to get to and from school.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–18: Gates as actually installed. In implementing our designs. In the street closures implemented in Florida. replacement bulbs. These were intended to illuminate the gates at night. The city used large reflectors instead. the city decided to simplify my gate design. communities used attrac­ tive plantings set against walls rather than gates to close off streets. or wiring from the nearest electric utility pole. 50 . however. and in order to placate the others. This policy dictated that the gate design be simple to minimize costs both for implementation and removal. the city would remove them. Only 70 percent of the residents wanted the mini-neighborhood design imple­ mented. If the majority of residents wanted the gates removed. The result is not too elegant and detracts from the stylishness of the gate. Although there is still another rea­ son why the pedestrian gates were eliminated: The city wanted it made clear that the gates were intended to restrict automobile traffic only. saving money by not having to provide lights. The basic reason for the city changing the gate design was cost. It can also deprive the fire department of the flexibility of an operable gate in the case of a serious emergency. The lack of snow and the lack of street curbs and gutters allowed that to be done where it could not be done up north. the city manager promised that a survey would be taken at the end of the first year. and that pedestrians would continue to have unlimited access to every street. The repositioning of rainwater sewers and the provision of new gutters to accommodate a planted area at the end of a street can prove prohibi­ tively costly.

The three other measures are listed below in order of their importance. and that these alleys are used for both parking and garbage collection complicated our plan appreciably. ■ Allied measures for stabilizing the community The physical modifications were intended to dramatically redefine the community and give residents greater control and use of their streets. 51 . Ohio ■ The alley problem in Dayton The fact that many of the houses in Five Oaks are also served by alleys. access to the alleys had to be limited to the residents of each mini-neighborhood and to the gar­ bage collection vehicles. a common alley served streets in two different mini-neighborhoods. Garbage trucks were to be the dominant users of the locked alley gates. In some instances. making it impossible to make each mini-neighborhood truly separate. Garbage trucks had to have the ability to continue through to the alley in the next mini-neighborhood. But these physical modifications were only the first of three other mea­ sures implemented in the Five Oaks community. This would also be inefficient and costly. For maximum effectiveness in facili­ tating community control and in reducing crime. Access to the alleys as well as to the streets was closed off by locked gates to which only the sanitation department had keys. the alleys were too narrow to allow a garbage truck to turn around and go back the way it came. In all cases. Parking garages are seen in background. Figure II–19: Gates across the rear alleys. Residents did not need to open the alley gates because they could turn their cars around in the alleys as they entered or left their parking garages. Dayton. The first measure was critical to the success of the physical plan. such as in the Grafton and Homewood mini-neighborhoods.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks.

Creating minineighborhoods has produced a genuine appreciation of the police for the work they do and has resulted in a focused program by the police to eliminate the real problems threatening the community. They had done this before in Five Oaks. It also focuses their attention on removing criminal activity from their communities. an entire street. A year after the modifications. 52 . when the criminals were removed after the gates were installed. police will be called upon by the community more frequently. now know many community residents by name. It should prove easier for the police to make arrests and to discourage further criminal activity within the community. I believe that this police component is very important to the success of the entire program. A united community can more readily document criminal activity and photograph and identify criminals. in turn. pimps. Immediately after the street closings. police. Rather than having one or two hesitant neigh­ bors acting in isolation to bring criminal activity to the attention of the police. now acts in concert to alert the police and provide them with support in their anticrime efforts. Police officers come to be recognized and known by their first names. police say it takes a much smaller expenditure of force on their part to keep Five Oaks free of crime. but the criminals had come back a week or 2 later. they did not return. came in and flushed out the drug dealers. they usually know exactly where to go to address it. However. One of the benefits of street closure and the creation of mini-neighborhoods is that it brings neighbors together in unified action to address their joint problems.Creating Defensible Space Coordinate police activities with target areas. When a problem arises. The police. Once the gates were installed. in a concerted effort. These calls for service will diminish rapidly as the word about the street clo­ sures spreads to criminals and their clients. or a mini-neighborhood. Police will find themselves working with a community that has a clearer sense of its own values and how they want the police to assist them. and prostitutes. The effect of creating mini-neighborhoods in other communities where I have worked has been to personalize community/police relations. Continual police liaison with the community and their participation in community planning meetings is also essential to giving the community the reassurance it needs.

Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. It is called a code team and works as follows: Using the State powers given to police to enforce municipal ordinances—that means powers up to and including arrest—the police are able to issue warnings stating that code violations are arrestable offenses that can result in immediate court appearances. they are most effective against those property owners who are already consci­ entious and concerned. and the perception that the community is out of control and going downhill. and even then no improvements of any significance will have been made. Many properties had so many code violations. Dayton. who were pleased with the location and had little need for amenities. To counter these difficulties. years can go by before any fines are exacted. the necessary expertise can be presented before the court at the same time. Using the normal process. The code team usually includes a building inspector and a police officer or a fire marshall. the landlords rented them out to drug dealers. The effect of neglected property is threefold: It results in neglect of adja­ cent property. Their owners were milking them for what they could and not reinvesting a penny. Ohio Improve code enforcement procedures. In this way. All of this causes the flight of even more homeowners. and it attracts drug dealers who increase crime. they could be shut down by the city for being beyond repair. Court appearances are usually sched­ uled within 30 days of a recorded violation. all 250 have 53 . the city of Fort Lauderdale developed an innovative code enforcement procedure that has not only proved to be quick and effective. it has brought in revenue that more than covers the cost of the program. Of the 250 violations cited since the code team went into action in Fort Lauderdale. Although normal municipal code enforcement procedures do exist. They prove cumbersome to implement against slumlords who retain attorneys to endlessly delay the resolution of a complaint and see the small fines exacted by the city as part of their cost of doing business. When these buildings could no longer attract even poor families. thus further deflating property values. it brings down sales prices in the surrounding area. traffic. There were some truly disrepu­ tably maintained properties in Five Oaks that discouraged adjoining property owners from making their own improvements.

Encourage first-time homeownership. The most notorious city slumlord has been arrested at his office. and with a readily available loan. handcuffed. Another proven method for dealing with property occupied by drug deal­ ers is property confiscation. Before the decline of Five Oaks. Much of the physical decline in Five Oaks is attributed to the exodus of resident homeowners. as are furnace. the amount of the downpayment is no more than a few thousand dollars. The residents of Five Oaks felt that a city program that assists people in purchasing and living in the duplex units is critical to the rehabilitation of their neighborhood. 54 . plumbing. the most common form of tenure had the owner living in one unit and the renter in the other. The city’s fines and the improvements required of the slumlord are put­ ting him out of business. A subsidy for rehabilitation that is tied to a required residency of 5 to 10 years (with prorated benefits) would be most advantageous and cost effective in maintaining property values and the urban tax base.000 per duplex. Both municipal codes and Federal laws per­ mit this action. Such a program could also be directed at perspective purchasers of single-family houses. The actual cost of these duplex units is not high.Creating Defensible Space resulted in fines and corrections. and electric improvements. and brought before a magistrate. Figure II–20: Residents making improvements to their homes after the creation of the mini-neighborhoods. Absentee landlords simply do not maintain their properties. where the side-by-side rental units are in the worst state of repair. This rehabilitation can lead to a cost of $10. The key to such a program is to couple assistance for the downpayment with funds needed to rehabilitate the unit. Window and roof replacement are commonly needed repairs.000 to $20. This is no longer so. This is particularly true of two-family houses.

Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. but 13 percent saw no change. By comparison. The police department found that overall crime had been reduced by 26 percent and violent crime by 50 percent. Robbery. and auto theft were found to be the lowest they had been in 5 years. a parallel education program that teaches them how to prioritize repairs and to manage and maintain rental property is essential. but 27 percent saw no change (Dayton OMB Evaluation. burglary. Housing values were up 15 percent in Five Oaks in the first year. A survey of 191 residents conducted by the Social Science Research Center of the University of Dayton showed that 73 percent of residents thought that there was less traffic. rehabilitation. ■ Evaluation of the modifications An evaluation by the city’s office of management and budget revealed that within a year of creating the mini-neighborhoods. it edu­ cates and provides downpayment assistance to renters who are position­ ing themselves to become homeowners. People’s investment in their homes and property 55 . and local programs directed at firsttime homebuyers and at rehabilitation. and traffic accidents by 40 percent. versus 4 percent in the region. Dayton devised a three-point demonstration program to improve distressed properties. 45 percent felt safer. This would also help to ensure that the funds being invested in the program will be spent most effectively. but that 36 percent felt there was no change. 62 percent said there was less noise. There are various Federal. assault. crime had increased by 1 percent. and it provides interest rate buydowns and loans for home purchase. cut-through traffic was reduced by 67 percent. and improve­ ment. The city targeted the Five Oaks community with these programs immediately after the street closures went into effect. The university survey showed that 53 percent of residents thought there was less crime. State. It provides funds to train existing landlords to be better managers. Dayton. Local banks have a Federal obli­ gation to participate in local rehabilitation efforts. in Dayton overall. and 43 percent thought it was as safe as it had been before. overall traffic volume by 36 percent. Ohio Because many of the purchasers of these duplexes will likely be firsttime homebuyers. 1994).

civic activities. The owners of 75 rental build­ ings and 45 homeowners had applied for and received city improvement loans. also proved untrue. 24 percent said it was easier to recognize strangers. renters and homeowners. The gates can be seen at rear. Drugs. The police’s explanation is that criminals and their clients knew that the residents of Five Oaks have taken control of their streets. that they displace crime into the surrounding neighborhoods.2 percent. they moved out of the surrounding communities as well. theft from houses and cars. had substantially increased. Crime in all the communi­ ties immediately surrounding Five Oaks decreased by an average of 1. neighborhood watches). and harassment were all found to be less of a problem than a year earlier (University of Dayton. while 53 percent said they knew as many as before. The University of Dayton’s survey found that 67 percent of residents thought their neighborhood was a better place to live. houses in the neighborhood were attracting families with children. With the neighborhood changing and housing values going up. There was a 55-percent increase in housing sales during this same 1-year period. A survey found that housing requiring both major and minor repairs dropped by 45 percent.Creating Defensible Space Figure II–21: Renter and homeowner children playing together in a cul-de-sac street. Most importantly. 1994). but because they did not know the neighborhood’s exact boundaries. 39 percent said they knew their neighbors better. For the first time in many years. The positive effects 56 . people found that it now paid to make improve­ ments: They were no longer acting alone and knew they would be getting their money back when they sold the property. and 36 percent were more involved in the community (that is. while 13 percent said it had remained about the same. through block clubs. The usual complaint about such programs. there was no differ­ ence in these perceptions between African Americans and whites. Others had gone directly to banks or financed improvements themselves.

Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. and its infrastructure of streets. It is no longer a desirable place to live for renters or homeowners. Other communities in Dayton are now exploring a similar restructuring. Whether this neighborhood stabilization effort served to deprive lowincome residents of future housing opportunities in Five Oaks is best answered in this way: The neighborhood to the immediate west of Five Oaks is virtually identical in physical construction. Dayton. Nothing was done to stop it. one finds that every third house has either been boarded up or torn down. that neighborhood now contributes very little to its tax base. snow removal.” says Ray Reynolds. water. Ohio in traffic reduction also spilled over into bordering communities as all of Five Oaks has itself become an obstacle to cut-through traffic. Because of the high rates of abandonment and vacancy. Driving through it now. the mayor of Dayton. From the city’s point of view.” Michael R. They benefit from low crime. We 57 . Its African-Ameri­ can. is typical of that enjoyed by middle-income communities that contribute to the city’s tax base. and sewer lines goes wasted. and garbage collec­ tion. fire. “if Five Oaks had not adopted its mini-neighborhood plan. The quality of municipal services Five Oaks receives. there are fewer low-income renters per block now than in Five Oaks. and safe streets and play areas. By comparison. The mutual respect resulting from closer contact between the different racial and income groups has a positive effect on everyone. television shows from The Today Show to Dateline NBC. such as police. Its decline preceded that of Five Oaks by a few years. the popular press from Newsweek to the Econo­ mist. So the policy of letting neighborhoods decline to create rental opportunities for low-income families proves to be a short-lived one. it would have gone the way of its neighbor to the west. Turner. had the following to say after 2 years of observing the changes in Five Oaks: The Five Oaks neighborhood has been the subject of articles in pro­ fessional journals. Their children play together. the city’s director of urban development. The community is perceived as being so unsafe that even white drug buyers will not go into the neighborhood. Five Oaks is reducing its vacancies. power. good schools. low-income renters share their streets with middle-income whites. “The bottom line is this.

fire and police emergencies.).000 in 1990). its unemployment rate is usu­ ally a couple of points above the national (9.000 in 1970 to 182. This attention is a testament to the search in America for urban solutions that work. and decide when and for whom the gates will be opened (for snow plowing. Do more than close the streets. 58 . The Five Oaks Neighborhood Sta­ bilization program is another such innovation. it lost 25 percent of its population since 1970 (declining from 243. compared with the average income in the county of $32. target code enforcement efforts. There are going to be a lot of benefits. 2. 4. It is not like you are starting from scratch on a fresh site: This is a retrofitting process. 3. from the Wright Brothers Flyer to the pop-top can. The lesson we learned in Dayton is that when Defensible Space con­ cepts are applied thoughtfully and with complete grassroots involve­ ment. But Dayton is also a city of world-class innovation.000/year. Accept some shortcomings. etc. results can make neighborhoods more livable and increase the sense of community. Put some public policy in place: Decide on how the changes to the streets will be made and paid for. Dayton is typical of many mid-sized cities in America: It has lost many of its major employers. and use police task forces to flush out the bad elements. If your community is considering a Defensible Space plan.000/year. and some of the problems will not have 100-percent solutions. but also some traffic inconveniences.4 percent in 1993). A high level of citizen participation is critical. pay attention to the lessons we learned: 1.Creating Defensible Space have hosted visitors from a dozen cities and responded to literally hundreds of requests for information. it has an average income of $22. make it a comprehensive program: offer first-time homebuyers loans.

but a first-time homebuyer’s program should still be made a very active parallel compo­ nent of the mini-neighborhood effort. they have often failed. and row houses (see the exposition of Defensible 59 . nor is there any incentive for them to maintain the house they live in or to care for its grounds. the front yard belongs to the family. For us to also expect them to be concerned about the nature of the activity in the street would be really stretching it. I have found that the presence of 40-percent resident homeowners may prove to be a minimum requirement. The experience of the highway department initia­ tives in Chicago and Los Angeles are not much better. The percentage of single-family houses versus multifamily housing on each street is also an important factor. This does not give them time to develop a commitment to their neighborhood.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. Single-family houses include all three categories: fully detached houses. This does occur in some cities. In commu­ nities where neighborhood people have tried the concept on their own. Where this exists. some renters have occupied neighborhoods for a few generations and have strong commu­ nal and religious organizations within them. coupled with strong social organizations. Ohio ■ Limits to the application of the mini-neighborhood concept The creation of mini-neighborhoods will not survive a cookie-cutter approach: The concept does not lend itself to every situation. for instance. Need for a predominance of single-family units. This is because in single-family houses. and/or if there is a strong community identity among renters. semidetached houses. It might be possible for this 40-percent homeowner minimum to be reduced if there is a community tradition of renters occupying their units for periods of 5 years or more. Existing homeownership is a critical ingredient to the success of mini-neighborhood creation. In Baltimore. renters are normally given only 6-month to 1-year leases. the percent of homeowners could drop to as low as 20 percent. This is because in many communi­ ties. Need for a minimal percentage of homeowners. There are certain conditions that must be in place and the action must involve the commu­ nity in a particular way to be successful. Dayton. By closing the street it makes it easy for that family to extend its realm of concern from its front yard into the street.

Thus residents’ adoption of the closed street as an extension of their dwellings is not second nature. Need for mini-neighborhoods to reflect people’s perceptions. Each of these three categories of singlefamily houses has separate entries facing the street directly off its front yard. Residents felt that the presence of these schools was a necessary ingredient to the success of the mini-neighborhood effort.Creating Defensible Space Space principles in chapter I). where neither magnet schools nor parochial schools were in existence. and sports programs. 60 . The entries to these buildings serve many fami­ lies and are often located at the side rather than facing the street. The schools. parents participated actively in the local pub­ lic schools to improve performance. It should be remembered that one of the appeals of inner-city minineighborhoods is the quality housing available at low cost in comparison with the suburbs. But the price for that is the need to supplement the cost of local schooling. It is criti­ cal that residents from every street participate in the planning process and define their own mini-neighborhoods. This can be a time-consuming process that many cities would prefer to avoid. If a mini-neighborhood program is meant to attract working. and 30 percent of the students in these schools came from the community. The Five Oaks community had three parochial schools operat­ ing within its boundaries. In creating mini-neighborhoods. it is important to work closely with the institutions in the area. the results have often been pointless. art. In some gated communities in St. it is necessary to have good schools in the area. and ran special music. Need for quality schools. It is not that easy to create mini-neighborhoods in streets composed of multifamily buildings.and middle-class families with children. The grounds are usually public and not associated with particular families. They helped purchase books and supplies. but a magnet school of good quality can serve the same purpose. Dayton’s public schools are not highly regarded. Communities in other cities may not have parochial schools. either through the use of parochial schools or through active participation on the part of residents in making local schools better. Working with local institutions. In cities where the highway departments designed the street closures without community involvement. Louis.

When I point out that some of the most expensive communities in their city and suburbs are gated. In these situations. In Dayton. The most difficult communities I have found to work in are those that are about 70-percent African American that are undergoing rapid transi­ tion. the plan I prepared made it easy for the hospital staff. They are also in a position to subsidize their staff to buy homes in the community. and universities can be a real resource in many ways. But after I left. They understood very clearly that these mechanisms would enable them to keep the local gangs under control and the drug dealers and prostitutes out. so their position is understandable. saying: What has that to do with us? African Americans in this country do have a history of being excluded. Ohio hospitals. by totally refus­ ing to entertain such a solution. The city then had to tear down these gates and revert to my original plan. antagonized the hospital staff. Race and the attitude toward mini-neighborhoods. some African-American residents perceive the proposed gates as a device for either locking them in or locking them out. Dayton. they scoff. Most of my work in creating mini-neighborhoods has been in racially and economically mixed communities. They usually have a stronger commitment to the neighborhood than individual homeowners. A bit into the process. they proved to be as strong advocates of mini-neighborhoods as whites of similar incomes in predominantly white communities. they are depriving themselves of a simple and effective means of making their communities safer and free of traffic. and patients to come and go. Where the residents of these communities were working and middle class.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. but I have also worked in all-African-American communities of varying income levels. by so doing. I discovered that African-American opposition in communities undergoing transition often came from people who did not actually live in the community but were hoping to buy into it given that 61 . However. the community modified that portion of the plan and. The lesson again is: Everyone must participate in the planning process from beginning to end. ambulances. I try to hold my community meetings in hospitals and schools and invite the principals of these institutions to attend so that they too can help shape the plan and make it theirs.

That put their criticism in perspective. one cannot stabilize a neighborhood for homeowners and increase property values on the one hand. are my critics from academia. It is important for a city. Grandin. without also making it more expensive for some people to buy into on the other. Criticism from resident drug dealers and others. I was told that Five Oaks was selected to be the first test of the mini-neighborhood concept in Dayton just because it was 50/50 African American and white. they did not want a program that would interrupt the trend.” When I reply that my experience has shown that mini-neighborhoods actually serve to bring people out of hiding and encourage them to interact with each other. Louis compared closed streets with open streets and found a significant difference in residents’ knowledge of their neighbors (Newman. and housing prices are going to jump by 20 to 30 percent. Needless to say.) Our study in St. City officials feared that if it were a predominantly white community. Instead. which is the “American way. to target African-American and Hispanic-American communities as well as predominantly white communities for Defensible Space modifications. their choice would have been severely criticized and implementing the modifications would have been made difficult. 1974). one of the things I learned to do was ask people to identify themselves and give their address in the community before they spoke. But in truth. but they will rarely get up and talk for themselves. When working in one neighborhood. When I ask what evidence they can point to that shows that people living on open streets interact more readily. one is open to criticism of favorit­ ism from various other neighborhoods throughout a city. they boo me.Creating Defensible Space housing prices were falling. for that matter. In some communities. they are silent. drug dealers prove to be the wealthiest residents and often own the big­ gest houses. or interact across the urban spectrum.” In self-defense. therefore. they have well-spoken friends give long dissertations on the evil of gates and the removal of freedom of access and association. (So. In this way it cannot be said that the city’s security programs are being directed only at middleincome families. I prepared plans for the modification of a public housing project as well as for Five Oaks. In Dayton. they feel very threatened by my proposals. 62 . They did not enjoy hearing me say: “We’re going to make this community more attractive to homeowners. Because of this situation. In fact. Wayno.

they are right not to support the concept.” That assessment may be correct: Mini-neighborhoods may not work there. Ohio The police can be very useful in helping one learn about the relationship of community critics with drug dealers and slumlords. In such communities. Drug dealers run this place. Mini-neighborhoods only work where the people who do not want crime feel that they are the majority and that this mechanism will give them the control of their neighborhood they seek. But if they feel that the neighborhood is no longer theirs. drug dealers are so omnipresent. Dayton. including public housing projects. In some communities. 63 . Let me hasten to say though that not everyone objecting to mini-neighborhoods on philo­ sophical grounds is either a drug dealer or slumlord. Certainly. I have seen collegeeducated women at meetings speak of drug dealers as a financial boon to the community.Chapter Two: Mini-neighborhoods in Five Oaks. my crit­ ics from academia are not. They provide young children with jobs as runners and subsidize the rents of seniors for the use of their apartments in which to hide their stash or to manufacture drugs. concerned residents will also stand up and say. they literally run the community and are strong con­ tributors to the local economy. oblivious to the fact that these same drug dealers have hooked resident teenagers on drugs and turned some of them into prostitutes. These gates are just going to enable them to further assert their control. “You don’t understand the situation here.

CHAPTER The Clason Point Experiment THREE Row-house communities account for one-fifth of all public housing in the United States. From a Defen­ sible Space point of view. I had even greater hopes that after this reassignment of grounds. However. I hoped that this success would change the attitudes of housing management about resi­ dents’ ability to affect change and take control. Actually. residents would look out their windows and see the public street. and. San Francisco. not as a distant environment.C. Finally. and Washington. 65 . in their successful efforts in improving the grounds around their own homes. many of these projects prevent residents from controlling the spaces outside their homes because the units were so poorly positioned on their grounds. D. but as an exten­ sion of their own private lawns. I wanted to learn whether residents would adopt these areas as their own and assume responsibility for maintaining and securing them. Most residents come to public housing with no previous experience of maintain­ ing a home of their own. Fort Worth. and in smaller cities like Indianapolis. have a significant number of row-house developments. this was a good first step because developers created housing with no interior public spaces. but rather than adopt a policy of guiding residents toward the assumption of responsibility. most authorities assume that their residents are inadequate to the task and accept the notion of their dependency. Few have ever had the opportunity of identifying the land outside their home as their own. with living testament to the success and permanence of their individual efforts. Many medium-size cities like Philadelphia. and Oklahoma City. I became interested in testing this basic assumption early in my Defensible Space work and looked for the opportunity of dividing up and assigning the previously public grounds of a housing project to individual residents. public hous­ ing for families with children was primarily built as row houses. therefore. under their sphere of influence and scrutiny. My second interest in this experiment was to provide low-income residents.. Housing management knows this history.

S. This was because they had made a recent decision to tear it down and build highrises on the site. I begged and pleaded. At 25 units per acre. but it took a great deal of convincing. After I had prepared the plans for the modification of the project.Creating Defensible Space The opportunity to radically redesign the grounds of a row-house project and to reassign it to residents was given me by the New York City Housing Authority in 1969. Smaller walkup units for seniors are located at the ends of some buildings. Although I have modified many row-house projects since Clason Point—and many have proven even more successful—I chose to use Clason Point here. given to me. the U. to ask them to intervene on our behalf. Department of Justice. and I am endlessly grateful to them. but to no avail. I finally had to go to our research sponsor. Such a high density was achieved by limiting off-street parking to 0. The management of the New York City Housing Authority used to say that I knew exactly how hard the floors of their building were from hav­ ing been bounced off them so many times. 66 . as the example of this kind of work. Note the overflowing garbage dumpster at left. The housing authority acquiesced. and there were many things I did wrong that are worth pointing out. Clason Point is a 400-unit pub­ lic housing project located in the South Bronx. because it was an important first step. It consists of 46 buildings that mostly contain row houses. this is a dense project by rowhouse standards. I say. Figure III–1: Clason Point as seen from street. a compara­ tively high-crime area of the city of New York. For what would have been the impact of my first Defensible Space writings without Clason Point? I tell this story only to prepare those who would follow me for the struggles they face. before modifications. the authority changed its mind and withdrew its support.15 spaces per unit.

Figure III–2: Interior grounds of Clason Point before modifications. they had severely changed or cur- tailed their patterns of activity as a result of the new presence of gangs and drug dealers. I asked them to draw maps of those areas they thought most dangerous. Interviews I conducted with residents revealed that they were fearful of being victimized by criminals. It was constructed of exposed ce­ ment block in an army barracks fashion. Teenagers from surrounding streets used the grounds as a congregation area. To better understand how residents perceived the project. The only area they thought safe was the one immediately around their home. red-brick row houses. The project bore the stigma of public housing. Intergenerational and interracial conflict was common on the undefined public grounds. 29 percent by African-American families. and they felt they had no right to question strangers as a means of anticipating and preventing crimes. Everyone also declared the public open space in the center of the project as the most dangerous. and public housing meant that it was owned by the public and residents’ rights were confined to the interior of their units. the housing authority kept it run­ ning until 1969. cement block buildings made it stand out against the surround­ ing streets of privately owned. Most residents drew the same kind of map. The project was then suffer­ ing a 30-percent vacancy rate because of its rundown condition. Its open. and 24 percent by Puerto Rican families.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment The project was built as munitions workers’ housing during World War II when few people had cars. 67 . Although it was supposed to have been torn down after the war. Thirty-two percent of the project was occupied by elderly whites. One had the impression that intrusion by strangers would go unchallenged. unkempt grounds and the un­ finished. instilling fear and anger in many Clason Point residents. which is when I first learned about it. both during the day and in the evening.

and adding a little play equipment. 68 . It was slated for adding a stucco surface to the cement block to reduce penetration of cold air. Figure III-3: Composite of fear maps produced by residents. replacing the roofing and boilers. ■ To reduce the number of pedestrian routes throughout the project so as to limit access and to intensify the use of the remaining walks. and these would be widened to allow them to be used for play and sitting areas. ■ To intensify tenants’ surveillance of the grounds by giving them a greater identification with the grounds. New lighting would be added to improve visibility and to extend the use of the walks into the evening. ■ To improve the image of the project by resurfacing the exterior of the existing cement-block building and by further identifying indi­ vidual units through the use of varying colors and resurfacing materials. Only those walks that passed in front of the units would remain in use. The physical modifications I planned for Clason Point had these goals: ■ To increase the proprietary feelings of residents by subdividing and assigning much of the public grounds to the control of individual families and small groupings of families through the use of real and symbolic fencing.Creating Defensible Space The housing authority had a small mod­ ernization budget available for improving the project. ■ To reduce intergenerational conflict among residents within the project by assigning specific areas for each group to use. I hoped we could stretch these dollars significantly to change the look and function of the entire project.

Most of the residents chose to do so after the first year. The clusters ranged from as few as 12 dwellings per cluster to as many as 40. I created real barriers to define and secure the rear yard areas. If residents desired to further define the boundaries of their own front or rear yards. The lighting also improved residents’ surveillance potential and resulting feelings of security. allowing them to place picnic tables and other outdoor furnishings there for the first time. A new combination lighting. they had to install their own individual side fencing. Figure III–5: Collective front yards are defined by the new concrete curbing. and planter helps residents use and identify with the central walk. The number of families grouped in each rear yard cluster was determined by the existing layout of buildings.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment ■ Redefinition of grounds Using 6-foot-high fencing that looked like iron. It should be noted that both the fencing and curbing only defined collec­ tive areas. decorative lighting served both to high- light the main public walk and to make the benches usable at night. but was actually inexpensive hollow tubular steel. seating. The 6-foot fence defined 50 percent of the previously public grounds located at the rear of the units for the private use of individual families. The low concrete curbing. To improve the usefulness of pedestrian walks and to attract residents to them. served to redefine an additional 30 percent of the public grounds as private front lawn. I designed a combination planter-seating- lighting element that would be placed in the center of the walk at inter­ vals of about 40 feet. placed adjacent to the public walk in front of the units. not individual front or rear yards. Figure III–4: Six-foot-high tubular steel fencing defines the collective rear yards of residents. This new. These were symbolic barriers. 69 .

The hous­ ing authority again acquiesced—against their better judgment—but the new fixtures looked glorious at night. domestic scale lighting that showed the way to the front doors of the units. They found my lights too low and too delicate. the housing authority embarks on a new search to find even more 70 .Creating Defensible Space Figure III–6: Vandalized tiles and mailboxes in a highrise. and therefore too vulnerable to vandalism. they invite vandalism. once they are vandal­ ized. The new lighting was not vandalized. They provided a row of soft. They had never allowed themselves to use anything like it before. These products are so institutional looking. that were so high they could not be easily reached. Their rule was to provide highway-type lighting fixtures ~. - Housing authorities sometimes get into an escalating spiral by advocating vandalresistant products. As an example. They are so demeaning. A small battle ensued with the housing authority about the decorative lighting. Figure III–7: Small play nodes—as little as a basketball hoop and an adjacent bench—are located to serve small clusters of residents. These had plastic covers that could withstand being hit by stones. Of course. I cite the large yellow tiles that are commonly used in corridors (figure III–6). one expects to see them in prisons. I argued that the residents would take pride in the new fixtures with their spherical glass globes and would not want to vandalize them. These materials are an unflattering reflection of the residents.

The quality of the fixtures reflected on the residents. At selected intersections along the primary paths. uglier materials to replace them. as most architects would insist on doing. I hoped that resident involvement in the process would increase their sense of individuality and proprietorship and that this would not only result in greater care and maintenance but in increased watchfulness and greater potency in dealing with gangs and drug dealers. I put benches next to these play areas to allow other children and adults to sit and watch the play activity. This was exactly the kind of involvement with. 71 . This finish could be applied in a range of different colors. I opted for a slightly more expensive resur­ facing treatment that would make the stucco look like brick and stonework. and commitment to.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment vandal-resistant. This became an event out of all proportion to its significance. the improve­ ments I was looking for. and inevitably. Entire families came out together to stand before the sample wall to debate among themselves and with their neighbors what colors would be best for the units in their row house. with my fixtures. The residents did not want to see them vandalized. I broke out of that cycle by saying. I created play nodes for young children and teenagers. I had the contractor put up a wall of samples and let individual tenants come and select their own colors. Figure III–8: Wall of samples showing residents the range of wall surfaces and colors available to choose from for their units. ■ Resurfacing of buildings As part of the effort to remove the public housing image of Clason Point. They evoked pride and care. and rather than choose the color combinations myself. At Clason Point. that the residents were special.

well congregated. play equipment. of both sexes. and where one was sure to be mugged at night. I thought I could turn it into a heavily travelled. Younger chil­ dren would occasionally throw a ball around here. I decided to transform this no-man’s land into an intensive community recreation area for all age groups. I found that the area was also used by teenagers. On further obser­ vation. was where pushers congregated. I felt the residents could expunge the drug dealers. tenants identified the central area as the most dangerous part of the project. ■ Redevelopment of the central area In the premodification interviews. 72 . where neighborhood addicts came to meet connec­ tions. As Clason Point was almost devoid of play and sitting areas. teenagers. This. Because this central area was also located at the intersection of a few of the newly created walks. and the elderly. intensive ball playing was difficult. they claimed. and inviting area by treating it with the same lighting. who congregated in one corner of the square after school. but because the ground was uneven. parents. and seating I had provided elsewhere. This area was identified by residents and police as the most dangerous of the project.Creating Defensible Space Figure III–9: The central area at Clason Point before modifications. By peopling it with young children.

Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment

As the area was to serve three different age groups, I tried to create three zones that would each have a different look and character. I designed the area for the elderly in a conservative, orderly, and restrained manner. In contrast, the teenage area was designed using curvilinear patterns, intense colors, and large bold rocks. These two areas, representing the
prime contenders at any
housing project, were separated by a large, defined central play area for
younger children.
I had hoped that all this activ­
ity would transform this dor-
mant and frightening area into the most alive and safe area of the entire project—that it would become the new focus of Clason Point. I had hoped, too, that my first step in defining the collective front and rear ground areas would encourage residents to further define them into their own individual yards. Would they see the opportunity to
install their own side fences and plant grass and shrubs? The housing
authority certainly had no intention of doing that. As it was, they saw the
new curbs and fencing as barriers to their large mowers.

Figure III–10: Plan for the conversion of the central area into a facility serving, from left to right, the elderly, young children, and teens.

Figure III–11: The central area as modified. Note that the extended front yards of neighboring homes now border the central area, bringing more under residents’ control.

73

Creating Defensible Space

«.OON !'OINT O.'DIN'
-_._~-

_,_0,._.

I anticipated that once residents realized that no one else had access to these areas, they would begin to place their own things in them. This would make them possessive of them, and they would begin to take care of and guard over them. This proved to be the case.

Figure III–12: Revised plan of Clason Point showing 90 percent of the grounds assigned to individual families.

But I also created areas requiring joint maintenance that were assigned to groups of 8 to 12 families. These had little to no success. They were only cared for when one adjacent family took it upon itself to do so. If that area was then misused by another adjacent family, the family that was taking care of it abandoned their effort. The lesson here is: Try to subdivide all the grounds and assign every scrap of it to individual families. The reassignment of public grounds was undertaken with the intention of expanding the domain that residents felt they controlled and in which they felt they had the right to expect accountability from strangers. I theorized that this reassignment would lead residents to watch the users of the grounds and walks more carefully and to set up in their own minds expectations about what kind of behavior would be acceptable in these areas. As a psychologist on my staff put it, “This reorganization of grounds will set up a dependent relationship between spatial organization and social expectations, and we should find that the informal expectations on the part of residents will become more exacting and differentiated. By elimi­ nating the functionless no-man’s land that no resident can control, we should also reduce crime and fear of crime. Tenants should feel they now had the right to impose social controls and pressures on strangers and neighbors.” I could not have put it better myself.

■ Effectiveness of the modifications
The first year after the modifications took place at Clason Point, the resi­ dents raked the topsoil of the grounds in front of their homes and planted the grass seed that was made available to them by the housing authority.

74

Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment

To the surprise of many resi­ dents, the grass came up in abundance, and the ground surface changed from packed dirt to a carpet of green. Residents then began to demarcate their own front and rear yards by putting up smaller, intervening fences— in many instances, the better to distinguish their patch of success from their neighbors’ inadequate efforts. Not to be outdone, unsuccessful residents plowed up the hard ground
once again, added mulch which was again made available by the hous­
ing authority, and reseeded more carefully. In fact, they had acquired the
knack of putting in seed,
watering, and fertilizing by
watching their successful
neighbors do it. To the
delight of those residents
new to gardening, the grass
came up by itself in the
spring of the second year and
was even more lush than the
year before. This prompted
residents to invest in small
shrubs, trees, flowers, and
garden furniture.
Now there may be those who
will wonder at what I have just described and, perhaps, take offense at it.
Was this whole effort no more than a gardening course for public hous­
ing residents? I have even been accused of implying that low-income
African Americans don’t know how to grow grass. The whole exercise,
of course, has nothing to do with gardening; it has to do with providing

Figure III–13: View of internal walk at Clason Point before modifications.

Figure III–14: View of the same internal walk as in figure III–13 after modifications and residents’ response with planting and further demarcation.

75

and finally to allow them the opportunity to themselves improve their space so that their identity with it is re­ inforced. the central green area. 76 . The bottom line is that by subdividing and assigning all the previ­ ously public grounds to individual families. with giving them an environment to live in that enhances their self-image and evokes pride. On a systematic basis. The opposite was the case. and concrete planters prevented them from using their power equipment. The original layout provided no grounds in the front of units for individual residents. In our site redesign. which was largely neglected. Residents had begun to see the public sidewalks as an extension of their dwellings. Residents now began to expand their concerns beyond their own front yard to the public sidewalks and concrete planter in the center of the walk. the small shrubs had grown a few feet and the perennial flowers had expanded their root system and come up in abundance. which they quickly improved.Creating Defensible Space BEFORE people with the opportu­ nity of taking control of the space and activities outside their dwellings. was removed and residents were given their own front yards. residents began to sweep the public sidewalks in front of their homes. The staff complained that the new curbing. fencing. In the third year after the modifications. too AFTER Figure III–15: Before and after photographs of an area of Clason Point. particularly when it appeared as if the authority’s maintenance staff were derelict in their duties. A play node is shown at front left. We had anticipated that the residents’ new assumption of grounds care would meet with a positive response from the housing authority mainte­ nance staff because it would decrease their workload. we have removed it from the gangs and drug dealers.

Residents responded by cleaning up some of the sidewalks and dumpster areas themselves. the central office concluded that.16 crimes per 1.000 residents to 3. We were informed of his request by an anxious director of housing management who had also hoped that the grounds modifications would reduce their workload. The response of the grounds staff was to slow down their performance and allow garbage and litter to accumulate in the public walks and at the garbage dumpsters. the project’s grounds maintenance staff was cut in half and the extra men moved to a neighboring project.15 per 1.000 residents and the postmodification average was 3. the grounds staff could be cut back. This removed much of the overall grounds of the project from access by criminals and gangs.000 residents. The overall crime rate in the development (including breach of housing authority rules) dropped by 54 percent in the first year. The average monthly burglary rate per year dropped from 5. redirected his staff’s activity toward the maintenance of the public walks and play facilities. if anything. the grounds supervisor at Clason Point put in for additional manpower to handle his new workload. Following a site visit. The following year. A few months after the completion of the modifications. The average monthly robbery rate dropped from 1.000 to 0. I suggested a site visit. for the first time in the history of the project. for fear of antagonizing the union.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment much work would now have to be done by hand.71. This decision was not implemented immediately. The premodification monthly average overall crime rate at Clason Point was 6. It also limited the movement of those criminals who lived within a rear yard cluster. The slowdown by grounds maintenance person­ nel continued for 6 months and was finally resolved when the housing authority replaced the grounds staff supervisor with one who felt comfortable with a policy that allowed residents to care for the grounds themselves. a 28 percent change. in turn.95 per 1. 77 . however. The supervisor. Figure III–16: The 6-foot fencing that defined the collective rear yards stimulated individual residents to further define their own individual rear yards.91 crimes per 1.

The large central play area initially attracted a large population from all over the project—adults. This soon resulted in the vandalizing of equipment by the distant residents who. The most successful play and recreation areas proved to be the small nodes I provided to serve a small and distinct group of residents. Residents’ fear of crime was reduced even more dramatically than the actual crime rates and. There was also more uniformity in the quality of maintenance of rear yards in the smaller clusters than in the larger. and the elderly—and they did succeed in driving out the drug dealers. I had forgotten my own basic rule: the smaller the number of families that share an area.Creating Defensible Space The average monthly assault rate dropped from 0. at times. Residents in the larger groupings had difficulty keeping the gates to their collective rear yard area locked. 78 . and assault—the average crime rate was reduced by 61. not only achieved full occupancy. for the first time in years. Had I realized how much variation would oc­ cur with the size of the cluster. robbery.53 per 1.5 percent. The project. and thus cut them in two. a 42 percent change. which was 30 percent vacant before the modifications. and the easier it is for people to agree on mutually acceptable rules for using it. it acquired a waiting list of hundreds of applicants. I could have subdivided the larger clus­ ters simply by running a 6-foot fence across them. The percentage of people who felt they had a right to question strangers on the project grounds increased from 27 to 50 percent. children. For the serious crime categories—burglary. most residents said they had little fear of walking through the project grounds at night. the greater the felt responsibility for maintaining and securing it. However. Whether to save the cost of a fence or from oversight. The number of felonies during evening and nighttime hours decreased by more than one-half.31. ■ Learning from experience Perhaps the most serious mistake I made was allowing the existing arrangement of buildings to determine the size of the collective rear yard groupings.000 to 0. the large size of the area also pro­ duced turf conflict between the residents living immediately adjacent to it and those coming from the other end of the project.

79 . Figure III–18: Aerial view of a small portion of Clason Point showing how 6-foot fencing was installed to create collective rear yards and curbing to define front yards. Figure III–17: Play node for young children: a sandbox and a climber located to serve a small cluster of families. Note the location of the play node serving a small cluster of families. it is better to put 1 piece of equipment in each of 10 areas so that it is there for the specific use of a particular group of residents. The lesson to be learned from this is that if one has the opportunity of placing 10 pieces of play equipment in a housing development. and elderly. If they could not use it. The elderly soon found themselves overwhelmed and threatened by teenagers.Chapter Three: The Clason Point Experiment felt excluded. Note how the new 6-foot fencing has prompted residents to produce gardens in their rear yards at left and the new curbing to create their own front yards. the one containing the formally designed checker tables and benches. no one would. It was also a mistake to try to create three zones within the one area to serve teenagers. than to group all 10 pieces in 1 central public area for the use of all residents. even in the area specifically designed for them: that is. young children.

Twenty thousand people lived in this housing. the remaining seven-eighths of the city housed only 80.st Yonkers The existing public housing projects had been built as large. high-density highrises and walkups. Some 6. or four times as many. southwest sec­ tion—an area one-eighth the size of the entire city.CHAPTER FOUR Dispersed..!"¢".. was found guilty by the Federal court (Southern District of New York) of severely segregating its public and assisted hous­ ing.c. ranging in size from 278 units to 550 units.d . Figure IV–1: Map of Yonkers showing the concentration of public and assisted housing in downtown southwest Yonkers and the location of the seven new scattered-site projects. • • 7 -.sti~ asslsn.000 units had been concentrated into the city’s older. 2 o They were located only a few '". the city of Yonkers. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers CITY OF YON KE12.I~ I'n .d h""':. The remedy. j.000 people. in a nationally prominent civil rights case. producing a very high overall concentration of low-income. required that 200 new units be built in the white. middle-class areas of the city that had previously excluded public housing.5ouihw.sitt nousl~ s~ in east Yonk(i:r:s r:J . 81 . minority population. o blocks away from each other. E:"xi. no more than a token really.5 In 1985.

It dates from the turn of the century when it functioned as a factory town. and used the occasion to apply the principles I had evolved in the Clason Point project to the construction of the housing. Yonkers is the first suburb one encounters driving north from New York City.S. Figure IV–3: Map showing the location of Yonkers relative to New York City. urban downtown. Also shown is the location of the Clason Point project in the south Bronx. the city was told to appoint an outsider to direct the construction of the mandated housing.. like many throughout the country.Creating Defensible Space After stalling for much too long. Yonkers’ public housing projects. This urban core is surrounded by a COUftJ.. The projects were also said to be the cause of much of the crime in their surrounding communi­ ties. Its older. Figure IV–2: Existing public housing in Yonkers: the School Street project. situated on the cliffs over the Hudson River. concentrated. privately owned highrise apartments occupied by white working.e:Q. 82 . During the period of the court case. Sprinkled along these highways are stretches of old and new.and middle-class families.TY mix of suburban areas ranging from modest singlefamily houses on small lots to large mansions on one-half-acre lots. Many of the criminals who lived in the projects were little more than children.. Teenagers carried automatic weapons openly and were often bold enough to screen people who came and went to make sure they were not police. were known for housing drug dealers and prosti­ tutes. I was selected in a process I will describe shortly.. The entire city is only 6 miles long by 3 miles wide and is interlaced with highways serving the suburbs to the north. is where the public housing was WES-rCHE.

social centers. Yonkers residents are a mix­ ture of ethnic and religious groups: Irish. It did not intro­ duce crime into the middle- class neighborhoods. and it did not produce white flight. more than half would have public assistance as their source of income. African. and bars. most of these being AFDC families. The dense public housing of southwest Yonkers can be seen at the back. After a 6-year trial and an additional 7 years of the city fighting me every step of the way. it did not reduce property values. Figure IV–5: Existing public housing in Yonkers: the Schlobohm project. This has produced a rich and exciting city with a multitude of churches. ethnic restaurants. It is a solution that is already becoming a model for cities across the country who wish either to voluntarily desegre­ gate their public housing or are under court order to do so. the scattered-site housing is now in place without any of the dire consequences predicted by its opponents. In Figure IV–4: Aerial view of east Yonkers showing typical suburban housing and the Catholic seminary. The residents of the new housing were to be chosen by lottery on a 50/50 basis from existing public hous­ ing tenants who wished to move into the new housing and from a waiting list of potential tenants. Italian.Chapter Four: Dispersed. Each ethnic group further reinforced its identity and political strength by concentrating itself in its own distinctive geopolitical ward. Jewish. Polish. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers The public housing residents who were to move into these 200 new units were to have the same profile as the exist­ ing residents—that is. and Hispanic Americans—each of whom wears their heritage proudly. 83 . food stores.

S. A highrise complex was to be put on the larger of the two sites and a three-story walkup on the other. and they did not care for the city’s notion of what constituted destabilization. but not for reasons I cared for. that it would be political or professional suicide for anyone to do this work. under a deadline from the court. finally. Figure IV–6: Existing public housing in Yonkers: Mulford Gardens. set about finding a housing advisor. They gave me the job. this ward structure had proven useful in serving the narrow interests of each ethnic group. Two years after the Federal court decision was issued. Prior to my appointment as housing advisor. The plaintiffs replied that this was further evidence of the city’s racism. saying that this would be a replication of the physical construct of the existing public housing projects in southwest Yonkers and would serve to destabilize the sur­ rounding neighborhoods. it proved devastating by prevent­ ing the city as a whole from acting in its greater good by quickly responding to the original segregation complaint. The city objected. At that point. the plaintiffs petitioned the court to inform the city that if it could not act on its own behalf to implement the remedy.Creating Defensible Space the past. 84 . the city had yet to locate a single site or prepare a single housing plan. it would either face costly daily fines or be required to appoint an outside housing advisor to do the work that no politicians or city employees could allow themselves to do—that is. the city. Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)) had identified two former school sites they wanted used for the public hous­ ing. However. Admitting. find the sites and prepare the plans for the housing. Much of the city’s resistance to implementing the 200-unit remedy stemmed from everyone’s assumption that it would be built along the lines of the existing public housing. the plaintiffs in the case (the U.

That is. what would be the long-term benefits to the pub­ lic housing residents? In my interviews with the city I had stated that. I had advocated an approach to racial and economic integra­ tion that would not destabilize the host middle-income com­ munity. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers After interviewing a dozen candidates. middle-class areas of the city rather than concentrate them in one or two specific sites as was proposed by the plaintiffs. not facing reality—a problem that plagued Yonkers from the beginning of these proceedings. the Federal court decided that I would henceforth work for the court rather than the city. on the basis of my past research. because in my interviews. I had thought that this was why I was selected. Otherwise. I would appeal to the court to modify its ruling. I would scatter the units throughout the white. of course. I would advocate the use of townhouses in a scattered-site for- mat. Defensible Space and Community of Interest. the mayor and the city council chose me to do the work because in my plan­ ning books. This was. When it became clear that I was making progress in selecting sites and getting the housing built as promised. This delusion on the part of the city was surprising. Figure IV–7: Typical site plan for a 12-unit site. 85 . be built. I had argued. but I later learned that the city was secretly hoping that once I became familiar with the crime pro­ blems in the existing public housing complexes in southwest Yonkers and then saw the pastoral beauty of the middle-class suburban settings of the rest of Yonkers. the city countered by refusing to pay me. After three months of non-payment.Chapter Four: Dispersed. in fact. and ordered the city to pay me on threat of contempt. I had made clear that although I would ensure that the housing would be built using Defensible Space principles. I also felt obligated to ensure that it would.

the Save Yonkers Federation. During the heyday of its defiance. I also planned to design the housing to look like that of the surrounding community so as to make it unnoticeable.6. city. with the hope that someone would succeed in defying the court. exempt property. This enabled me to identify all city. I used a variety of techniques to tease out Figure IV–8: Typical site plan for new sites: I reviewed the city’s annual report to the State listing all tax a 24-unit site. The city had said it could not implement the remedy because ----:. This decision came out of my research that showed that crime increased with the number of units in a housing project.Creating Defensible Space _ _ _ _ _ 1) CL. such as schools—that might be used for housing. As it was. I examined listings of all State. and Federal owned land and buildings—including empty buildings.RK STRE:ET ■ Design principles By locating the 200 public housing units on 7 sites in Yonkers. \ -------------there were no sites available. I had hoped to limit the number of units at any 1 site to a maximum of 24. With these techniques. State..fiUE_ But the court made the error of allowing the city to reject some of my sites. the city went so far as to elect a mayor because he had promised to hire the 86 . I was able to locate more than 20 sites that were suitable for the remedy. a different mayor was elected every 2 years during this period. I used aerial photographs to lo­ cate all empty parcels and then flew over the entire city with a helicopter to view them for suitability. and county park land to determine which parks were not being used. LORING "Vt. enabling me to avoid the purchase price and the delay of acquiring the land from private owners. Most of these sites were owned by the city. This was because no politician felt he would survive re-election if he defied this group. and the city rejected those that lay within the domain of the most vociferous and demonstrative of opponent groups. Private land is scarce and expensive in the middle-class areas of Yonkers.

I would not be able to make them disappear into the fabric of the city’s neighborhoods. I systematically met with community and religious leaders in every affected neighborhood of Yonkers. and was seeking the community’s assistance in doing so. In an endeavor to win communities over to the scattered-site plan I was advocating. isolated sites rather than many. This led to requests for me to give formal presentations to general meetings of a few hundred resi­ dents. People went totally silent. But more importantly. Look!” I walked over to the nearest wall bordering the auditorium stage. At one meeting. I was left with only seven sites. the city preferred that I choose a few large. The noise from the pounding thundered through the auditorium. raised my fist. and pounded it three times as hard as I could. alone. The city spent more on attorneys’ fees to stop the housing than I spent on building it—more than $20 million. And because of this. I was forced to put as many as 48 units on 1 site and 44 on another. In the end. I explained that I was there to implement the remedy in the best way I could. I returned to the microphone and. Strangely. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers most expensive lawyers available and to lie down in front of the bulldozers himself to stop the housing from being constructed. The city was nevertheless successful in rejecting many of my sites. small sites that were integrated into the community. argued the city. He was not re-elected. I told them the case could not be reopened. But many residents attempted to re-argue the court case in front of me.Chapter Four: Dispersed. That way. feelings ran so high. fewer areas would be con­ taminated by the contact. Their comparatively large size meant that these two sites would have to have their own internal street systems. at increased cost. I finally had to say: “Hold it a second. could not control. Some of these meetings were rowdy. The mayor put on a good show but succeeded in stopping nothing. holding my 87 . but many were quite civil and allowed for a good exchange of ideas. I was also worried that their isola­ tion from surrounding middle-class housing would allow a criminal subculture to materialize and flourish that the public housing residents. even to the point of putting undue pressure on the Cardinal of New York to get him to back down from a site I had selected on an outlying portion of the seminary property. the more the middle-class neighbors would be able to exert their values and control. They could not understand my argument: the smaller the site and the greater the contact.

All you are doing with your high-priced lawyers in revisiting the case. I stopped holding them. 88 . And this fist is you. This decision in­ volved a major dispute with the regional office of HUD that advocated the use of walkups.Creating Defensible Space hand in the air with obvious pain. Figure IV–10: Sketch of a group of rowhouse units for Yonkers as submitted by one of the developers. The second Defensible Space design directive I used was to insist that the housing have no indoor or outdoor areas that were public. the police had to escort me out for my own protection. Each family was to have its own front and rear yard. Figure IV–9: Typical site plan for a 48-unit site. After a while. It is time to let it go and help me find a rem­ edy that will work to everyone’s benefit. In some instances. is injur­ ing yourselves. and the front entry to each unit was to be located directly off the street. if not highrises. All areas of each unit and site would be assigned for the specific. said: “That wall is the Justice Department. The grounds of each site were to be fully subdivided and assigned to individual units. the vociferous ele­ ments in the city made it a practice to come and disrupt every such community meeting.” I do not know how useful these meetings were. private use of individual fami­ lies. This is why I chose two-story row houses as our building type rather than two-story walkups that have interior public areas.

no elevators. we limit the operat­ ing turf of the criminal element that may be living among the residents. Individual yard fences are 3 feet high. The judge looked at the myriad of fencing again. no fire stairs. “They look like pig sties. 89 . The second principle is that by dividing and assigning spaces to individual families and to small collectives of families. There were to be no public lobbies. The principle used throughout is that residents will jealously guard and maintain that which is theirs—even when they are renters rather than owners. shook his head and said. but row-house developments as well (see discussion of Defensible Space concepts in chapter I).” With this design. Once they realized that. “I hope you know what you’re doing. they would begin to customize and manicure the yards. is it really necessary to have the fencing?” I explained that the rear yards would take on a very different character once they were occupied. And they would become rich with flowers and objects that reflected their personalities. 6- foot fence. but not yet occupied. There were none of the spaces that typically charac­ terized not only highrise public housing. and small clusters of rear yards were to be collectively fenced-off from the surrounding streets by a taller. no corridors. he looked at the fenced-off rear yards and said. There were no nebulous public grounds for gangs and drug dealers to roam. For the first time in their lives. Developing this principle further. crime-ridden areas typical of multifamily public housing projects. The 6-foot fences defining the collective rear yard area can be seen in the foreground and at rear. residents would have a place immediately outside their dwellings they could call their own: their own place in the sun where they could leave a young child to play by itself without fear of it being harmed. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers Each family’s rear yard was to be defined by a small fence. I primarily hoped to eliminate all the troublesome. of course. I decided to do away with the collec­ tive garbage dumpsters that normally serve large groups of residents in Figure IV–11: The fencing-off of the rear yards in the Yonkers scattered-site housing.Chapter Four: Dispersed. It is interesting that when the judge I was working for visited the housing when it was completed.

They are always overflowing with garbage and attract rats and roaches. serving each unit. alone at my desk. These would be replaced with indi­ vidual garbage cans. Various stratagems have been devised to make them function better. that individual cans buried in concrete sleeves for each Figure IV–13: Individual garbage cans along the walks leading up to each unit in Yonkers’ scattered sites. The HUD regional office objected to our garbage can decision on two counts: one. I pointed out that we were asking no more for the public residents than the city provided to occupants of singlefamily houses. but in the scattered-site housing in Yonkers. and they would be placed in concrete pits in the ground along the front walks leading up to the entry door to their own house. The city backed down after it was agreed that each family would be respon­ sible for bringing its garbage to the curb on the morning of garbage day. I simply refused to allow them to exist. The city objected vehe­ mently that this would put an undue strain on its sanitation department. That way the gar­ bage cans too would be within the territorial domain of each family. and their maintenance would reflect on that family. everyone became involved and there was a big hullabaloo about it.Creating Defensible Space Figure IV-12 Typical garbage dumpster serving public housing. But as with most of my design decisions in Yonkers. I have explained the garbage can decision as if it were made by me. public housing projects. The large dumpsters that serve as garbage col­ lectors for most public housing projects are located in public areas where no one identifies with them. 90 . Every family would have its own garbage cans.

and. The housing authority’s consulting architect was also nervous about my placing the garbage cans along the front walks. A collective place would then be provided at the street for all the garbage cans to be positioned for pick up by the garbage trucks. (2) it would compromise the secu­ rity of the rear yard areas by introducing gates that opened to the public streets (we had learned from our Clason Point experiment that it took only one family to decide to leave this gate open for everyone’s security to be affected). I accepted that. the housing authority director and my salvation in this entire effort. This dispute was settled by Pete Smith. But to do this meant that the gar­ bage cans would have to be stored in the already small rear yards. I explained that this proposed solution introduced three problems: (1) it meant introducing a public walk into the rear yard areas which were now fully private. bay windows. even if only on garbage day. that the residents would be unable to look after their own gar­ bage cans. but because we were gambling on the validity of the Defensible Space hypothesis. He suggested that maybe the individual garbage cans could be stored in the back yards of the unit and then brought out on garbage day. and go with what I had proposed.Chapter Four: Dispersed. The operating rule was no public spaces. and two. He said that he saw potential prob­ lems with each proposal. I went on to spell out that the design of each unit was to carefully echo the style and materials of the surrounding middle-class single-family houses. we should be consistent throughout. and replaced by dumpsters. and staggered facades were to be used to emphasize the individual units within a row-house cluster. HUD argued that these individual cans would have to be pulled out eventually. Brick. and (3) having all the garbage cans grouped in a desig­ nated “public” spot. This was his polite way of also saying that it would be on my head if it went wrong. at great cost. peaked roofs. appreciating that these are the risks one must take to test the value of one’s convictions. The housing authority architect suggested that we could avoid the latter by providing a walk between the individual rear yards that led to a gate that opened onto the street. they would have to be brought through the house on gar­ bage day. and we would have to stick by it. furthermore. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers household would be far costlier than providing a collective dumpster. would be creating the same kind of problem produced by dumpsters. 91 .

given the history of the case. as an officer of the Federal court. the community did not believe me. to use row houses rather than highrises or walkups. ■ Problems in controlling the design process The decisions to scatter the 200 units over 7 sites rather than concentrate them on 2. When trying to obtain housing sites. it is normal practice for housing authorities to tell communities that they will only be putting up a small number of units. The ability of the local residents and politi­ cians to complicate construction by influencing the unions was also minimized by having most of the work done in communities distant from Yonkers. highrise developments that would devastate their surrounding areas. had promised to build row houses on small sites scattered throughout the city. Much of the reason the Yonkers community bitterly resisted the court order was their expectation that the new housing would be large. The housing units arrived 95 percent complete from factories approximately 100 miles away and were placed on foundations (that had been prepared earlier) during the course of a day.Creating Defensible Space All of this was accomplished within HUD’s cost guidelines by using factory-built housing. but neither HUD nor the housing authority was able to inspire much trust among the local residents. But once a site is acquired and approved for the use of public housing—a difficult process in itself—the number of units somehow doubles or quadruples. Even though I. Figure IV–14: Completed scattered-site units in Yonkers (foreground). Existing. and to use Defensible Space principles in laying out the grounds may sound rational. The use of factory-built housing minimized onsite protests and potential vandalism by oppo­ nents of the housing by limiting the onsite construction time. privately owned. My promise might be sincere. singlefamily housing can be seen in the background. The new units seek to capture the look and feel of the private housing. It is not that housing authorities. or 92 . but the process of getting these decisions accepted by HUD and the plaintiffs proved difficult.

moderate-income. This is because it is difficult to keep market-rate tenants living among public housing residents when they have other options. The end result would be a 200-unit low-income. had very little history of building anything but highrises and walkups. The Justice Department attorney in the case wanted to put 200 units in 2 highrise towers on the largest site. even if it means constructing high-density walkups or even highrises. it would replicate the situation in southwest Yonkers that led to the case to begin with. the Justice Department and the Yonkers chapter of the NAACP. The NAACP attorney said that my arguments reflected the racist 93 . That site would then serve 67 public housing units. it is just that it is so difficult to acquire a site. Of course the price for such a breach of faith is that the next site becomes even harder to find and get approved. Housing authorities are then unable to resist increasing the number. they have no option but to accept low-income tenants with Section 8 cer­ tificates (Section 8 is HUD’s rent subsidy program) to fill the vacant units. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers HUD. The notion that we would be propos­ ing the construction of row houses in Yonkers was an anathema to them. The entire rationale for the court decision would then be undermined. also had problems with our decision to limit ourselves to row houses. When management is then unable to attract new market-rate tenants to replace the old. Her idea was to make these an equal mix of public housing. highrise project located within a middle-income community composed of single-family houses. and market-rate units. The plaintiffs in the case. The New York City region is a very dense area. are being intentionally deceptive. This would virtually guarantee destabilization. For what would be the purpose of enabling low-income families to enjoy the benefits of living in a middle-income community if that community then quickly turned into a low-income community? The attorney for the Justice Department said that my argument was falla­ cious: The issue was not the nature of the host community but the exclu­ sion of public housing residents from an area that should have been open to them.Chapter Four: Dispersed. therefore. In fact. I pointed out to the plaintiffs that the history of such mixed-income developments (particularly in Yonkers) was that they became fully occupied by low-income families in a short period of time. The HUD regional Office in New York City. that once it is in place more money can usually be found by HUD for additional units.

whereas the big savings in the use of row housing was in the consequent reduction in mainte­ nance. If the proposed large. HUD was only using the initial construction costs. and if the surrounding community then wished to leave. HUD said that. with documented references: ■ HUD’s manual for the construction of public housing had only two books referenced in it: Defensible Space and Design Guidelines for Achieving Defensible Space. for one. The argument for the mixed-income development presented by the Justice Department attorney was that it would guarantee a mix of income groups. HUD spends millions of dol­ lars per project every few years repairing the destruction wrought by 94 . The Justice Department attorney reasoned that the decline of the community would just make available additional lower cost housing for his client group. so there was no need to create an arti­ ficial mix within the new project—particularly if we could not sustain that mix. Regarding my Defensible Space rationale. The next problem I encountered was getting the HUD regional office to accept row houses as the building type rather than walkups. the result could destabilize the surrounding middle-income community. and walkups were being torn down everywhere as frequently as highrises. I prepared a long memo to HUD and all the parties in the case. the court accepted my reasoning. HUD pre­ ferred walkups because it thought they would be less costly to build. The second book had been published jointly by HUD and Justice. so be it. mixed-income development became all low-income. My counter to that was that the community surrounding the new public housing was already middle-income and stable. rather than a concentration of low-income families. In informal discussions with all parties. they had never accepted it. had no problem with the entire 200 units turning into a low-income project. ■ When calculating the cost of walkups versus row houses. pointing out the following. vandalism. and security costs. ■ The history of walkup public housing throughout the country was not much better than that of highrises. as an agency. He.Creating Defensible Space attitudes of Yonkers residents—attitudes that had produced the case in the first place. both written by me.

With the conventional route the housing authority specifies exactly what it wants in terms of design. the New York State Building Code allowed two-story row houses to be built of wood. They allowed their building department to prepare its own memo supporting my posi­ tion. and without the multitude of fire walls required of walkups. The use of the turnkey method thus allows the authority to avoid the requirements of the Wicks Law. There were two ways open to obtaining bids: the conventional route and the turnkey route. The problem with this method is that New York State has the Wicks Law. The turnkey route allows the housing authority simply to issue a request for proposal (RFP) from developers in which only the sites and the number of units per site are identified. that we had an opportunity to demonstrate that public housing could be built to everyone’s benefit in middle-income communities. who would have preferred that no housing be built at all. the housing authority would have its architect prepare detailed construction drawings for the housing on each site and then request bids on them. These additional requirements actually made walkups more costly than row houses. These arguments were heard before the judge in the case. Such projects have not only proven to be more costly. In the conventional route. but with the turnkey method it leaves all that 95 . These bids must be considered by the housing authority along with bids by general contractors for the entire job. which allows separate subcontractors to submit bids for small portions of the work. The housing authority would then have to serve as the general coordinator in evaluating and accepting these small bidders. City officials in Yonkers. The next obstacle we had to face grew out of the method the housing authority and HUD would have to use in soliciting bids for the work. ■ Finally.Chapter Four: Dispersed. they are difficult to administer and frequently stall in irreconcilable disputes between subcontractors. certainly preferred row houses over walkups. and he reminded HUD (a defendant in the case) of the importance of getting the remedy done right. The RFP also spells out HUD’s basic standards for construction and site development. without a second fire stair. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers the residents in the public areas of highrise and walkup buildings: Our housing would have no such public areas.

I had heard from local developers.Creating Defensible Space to the discretion of the developer. many of whom I had gone out of my 96 . or we would alienate the few developers we could attract. with the expla­ nation that they were there for the developers’ enlightenment only. The housing authority and I realized that we could not go on issuing RFPs and turning the developers’ submissions down. Again. which also contains the criteria to evaluate the responses from developers. they would not win the award. The housing authority chose not to make any award. It was clear that the developers and their architects had to be shown illustrations of what we wanted. HUD nixed the inclusion of the schematics in the RFP once again. stating that this would severely restrain the developer by keeping him from using his own approach and finding the least expensive and. These criteria place important weight on incorporating Defensible Space principles. But HUD replied that the developers were not fools. hence. The regional office of HUD objected. The written design guidelines. alone. were not enough to evoke either the image of the buildings or the site plan layouts we desired. but how could we be assured of getting the housing designs and site plans we wanted? The authority and I proposed to HUD that we include a set of written design guidelines in the RFP. we asked HUD to allow us to include schematic site plans and building sketches. The developers and their architects did not seem to grasp what we were after. After much argument. the best solution. The purpose of the turnkey process is to allow the developer to build what he knows how to do best and to turn over the finished housing to the authority when it is ready for occupancy. HUD agreed to allow a set of Defensible Space guidelines to be introduced into the RFP. and that they need not be followed. As it was. but totally vetoed the inclusion of any schematic site plans. we were only getting bids from 2 out of 10 developers who had paid $100 for the bid package. they would soon guess that if they did not follow the schematics. The housing authority and HUD both preferred the turnkey method. The designs submitted by developers in response to the first issuance of the RFP proved unacceptable. along with schematic site plans that illustrated how to produce Defensible Space plans for each of the seven sites. The Defensible Space design guidelines issued in the RFP appear in addendum A.

the housing authority director. that they were. believed that tenant training was a critical ingredient to the success of the program: The residents had to be prepared for the move. however. It would be wrong. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers way to attract. Smith was overwhelmed by questions. receive were from developers whose operations were well away from Yonkers. ■ Selection of residents The public housing residents who would move into the new units were expected to have the same socio-economic profile as those who lived in the old highrises. in fact. It is self-selection toward the adoption of a new opportunity and lifestyle. The 200 families would be chosen by lottery from a list of 2. This move meant so much to them. The only bids we did. they were receiving calls from important people in the community. It was explained to them that they could either pick up the site plans with their bid packages or not. whereas most of the people who had picked up the bid package were experienced local builders. and they were fearful.000 applicants. identical. Most of them did. This time we got back three proposals that came very close to giving us what we wanted. Although they had been selected at random.Chapter Four: Dispersed. There were many things they did not know about living in a single family house with its own heat and hot-water system. in fact. This is hardly random selection. This is because 50 percent would come from the exist­ ing public housing projects and 50 percent from the housing authority’s waiting list. advising them not to bid. A comparison of the profile of the new tenants and those living in the large projects shows that they are identical. that because their names had been made public. they had first to select themselves as candidates for the new housing. ■ Training of residents Pete Smith. He suggested we bring in a professional trainer: someone who had done 97 . they would find a pile of schematic site plans next to the pile of packages. to conclude that just because their profiles were the same. they were very anxious to get it right. We decided to employ the following strategy in this second round: When the developers came to pick up their packages. And this may not be a desire that is universally held by all public housing residents.

knew what they were ignorant of. The training program would cost a bit.” Residents still keep in touch with him. including his own mainte­ nance people. a community north of Yonkers. and knew how to explain things to them simply and to lead them slowly to an understanding and self-confidence. and refer to him at meetings.E. someone with authority in the community who had been through this sort of thing in his own life. involving them in the process of acclimatizing the tenants and the neighboring community to each 98 . and provide the opportunity of going through various procedures that would be followed in case of the need for major repairs or other emergency responses. I thought that Smith’s housing staff might be able to handle the counseling. He even hired some of them to help in the training. safety and security. The sessions dealt with relocation. He knew Bob Mayhawk of the Housing Education Reloca­ tion Enterprise (H. He understood what the future tenants were wor­ ried about.) who had conducted training programs for a public housing relocation program in Greenburgh.E. interper­ sonal relations. and Smith wanted to ask HUD to pay for it. and community resources. The training program should be intensive. I was concerned about going overboard in what we were asking HUD to do. involve four or five sessions. home maintenance. include working with maintenance people in the new units and meeting with the community and the police. They needed an advocate they could ask seemingly dumb questions without feeling humiliated. HUD objected and asked my opinion.) Mayhawk proved to be a very effective educator.R. A five-session program was given to all potential candidates for the housing. He had a great deal of credibility within the African-American community and even ran his own radio station. someone to whom they could open up about their fears and reservations. “It was up to the tenants to make the program work and up to me to train the tenants to do that. (An outline of these sessions appears in addendum B. But Smith disagreed: The tenants needed someone from outside the housing authority they could trust and feel comfortable with to provide a buffer between them and the complicated world they were entering. Smith decided he would find the money for Mayhawk’s services from the housing authority’s own budget.Creating Defensible Space this before. He spoke with different leaders of the opposition in Yonkers and reached out to them. He said.

Mayhawk emphasized that the housing authority and the police would be on top of everything going on. Many of the fami­ lies who dropped out said they did so because of their teenagers’ objections. Those involved in drugs or other unsavory activities bowed out. ■ Results Although none of the residents had any previous experience living in row houses with private front and rear yards. business people. They became 99 . He introduced residents to business people who might hire them. watching the community. en masse. with only selected members of the public present. These former opposition leaders became liaisons in the commu­ nity for the first 3 critical months. The local media were intentionally kept away from both the training sessions and the tenant/community orientation sessions because inflammatory rhetoric had categorized much of their coverage of the case. Of the initial 2. these trainers went door-to-door to help orient them. Residents knew they were moving into a fish bowl and would be under continual informal surveillance. It was not by accident that the resi­ dents received flowers and baskets of fruits when they first moved in. After the tenants moved in.000 applicants for the 200 available units. The new developments were an hour bus ride away from the concentration of projects in southwest Yonkers. and com­ munity institutions: the latter including Sarah Lawrence College and Yonkers Raceway. and dis­ rupted them. about one-third dropped out of the process. Police were also present at these orientation sessions and meetings with the community.Chapter Four: Dispersed. These meetings were closed. They planted flowers. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers other. There were many subsequent turndowns by residents. to the surprise of the middleincome residents of Yonkers the new residents quickly adopted the behavior patterns of their suburban neighbors. It was made clear that any tenants involved in ille­ gal activities would be evicted. Truly open meetings would have deteriorated because the opposition groups would have descended on them. Mayhawk also held meetings among tenants. watching the tenants. further defined their grounds with low picket fences. The teenage children of many applicants did not care for the move because the dislocation meant some of their friendships and peer group activity would end. and installed barbecues.

They even went out of their way to assist fellow newcomers with lawn maintenance. Figure IV–15: Residents’ initial improvements to their front yards. In an evaluation of adjacent hous­ ing. and with time they were replaced by the real thing. initially. 100 . therefore. were made of inexpensive plastic. It must be admitted that these picket fences and.Creating Defensible Space proud of their achievements and jealous of their territorial rights. Figure IV–16: Residents’ later improvements to their front yards. but the spirit was there. The Yonkers school board says there is no decline in the quality and performance of children in the schools. but the residents set about defining their front yards with their own picket fences and took on the further responsibility of maintaining these yards as well. the local newspaper found that there was no decline in property values and no white flight. had kept them free of fences. The police found no increase in crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the scattered-site units and no evidence that the gang or drug activity that was prevalent in the old projects had transferred to the new. Residents of the scattered-site units are now making requests of the housing authority to avail themselves of HUD programs that would allow them to buy their units. some of the flowers. The housing authority had intended to maintain the front yards of the units itself and.

Chapter Four: Dispersed. I was at the lottery. The surrounding community was made up of people who had moved into Yonkers 2 decades ago and had bought their houses for $60. I let them vent about what they feared would happen. now they were worth $250. Extra patrols would be put in initially—and on an as needed basis—I promised.000. the executive director of the housing authority during the entire period up to the present. former chief of police. I saw how much they wanted to move in and do better for themselves. the chief of police. and Pete Smith. adjoining every site.000 and $70. I remember how excited they got when they learned they had been selected by the lottery. In their own words: Bob Olson. My job was to convince the white community that their world wasn’t coming to an end. during the time the housing was put in and for 2 years thereafter. Yonkers: I was not part of the community mindset when I first came to Yonkers to be chief of police. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers ■ Evaluation The following are excerpts from my interviews with Bob Olson. I attended some of the orientation sessions for the future tenants of the scattered-site projects—and their first meetings with small groups from the surrounding community. They were good people. The remedy order had already been issued. Their houses were everything they owned. I went to speak to community groups all over the east side.000. They knew about the drug Figure IV–17: Residents’ later improvements to their rear yards. and I actually saw it as my job to change that mindset. They were worried that prices would plummet when the public housing residents moved in. 101 . then reassured them I wouldn’t let any of it occur.

Creating Defensible Space

scene and the prostitutes in the projects in the southwest—you only had to drive by to see them hustling on the street corners. My concern was to make sure that that wasn’t transplanted with the residents. My presence, or the presence of my precinct cap­ tains, at every orientation session and meeting with surrounding residents and businessmen must have done a lot to show everyone we were not going to tolerate any nonsense from either side. During the move-in and immediately thereafter we provided extra police presence—you know that, you specifically asked for it. The doomsday scenario never materialized. The stories that were circulating before the moves took place were that the real bad folks would get into the units and create gangs, peddle drugs, women, etc. Then the neighborhood people would react by screaming and yelling, and possibly demonstrating. The newspapers would hype it all up as usual—accusing both sides of what they themselves were doing. The politicos would then jump on the bandwagon, and we would be national headlines again. Some people were worried about how the police would react. My men were all Yonkers residents, and some came from fami­ lies that were in Yonkers for two and three generations. There is no question that their views reflected the sentiment of the white community. But they were a very professional bunch, reflecting solid police values. Even if their personal sentiments went the other way, I knew that when push came to shove, they would do the right thing. Most of them liked things quiet around Yonkers. They didn’t want a community in turmoil. They did not want to see the level of risk increase for anyone. They viewed the whole discrimination case as another pain in the butt—people feuding and fighting. They used to say of the politicos: those dumb SOBs could have been rid of this whole thing in the 1980s, if they had only agreed to put 80 public housing units on the east side.

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Chapter Four: Dispersed, Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers

We have had virtually no crime or crime problems from the scattered-site units. After 2 1/2 years of occupancy, the only complaints we have been getting are loud noise and music, someone’s car broken into who lived in one of the sites, and kids from the units taking shortcuts to ballfields across their neigh­ bors’ property. When the neighbors came out and screamed at them, the kids retaliated by coming back with M80s. That needed some quick fence mending, schmoozing with the kids and the neighbors, asking each to give more than was expected of them in the way of politeness and tolerance. It worked. You can’t blame the neighbors for being upset: six or seven African-American kids with pants hanging below their butts, baseball caps turned backwards, walking across their lawn. We talked to the kids, asked them not to cuss, and not to tangle or argue with the neighbors. I said: “Even if they insult you, surprise them with politeness. That’ll defuse them real good.” And we asked the neighbors to remember that as tough as they looked, these were just kids. And if they yelled at kids, the kids would yell back—and more. Most of the complaints we get now are over an occasional wild party, and these complaints come from the other housing residents just as frequently as from the surrounding neighbors. The lesson I learned from all this is that highrises shouldn’t be used for anyone but elderly, and that elderly and kids don’t mix. The other thing is don’t put the poor African Americans in large concentrations. Boyfriends of welfare women come into town from Detroit, or wherever, and set up their women in their own apartments doing drugs and prostitution. And in a highrise, that contaminates the whole building, sometimes the whole highrise project. You have to be able to evict these people, quickly and easily. HUD’s procedures take too long and go nowhere. I like the idea of using women tenants as part of an in-house security force. The housing authority should be allowed to pay them five bucks an hour without HUD expecting to deduct that amount from the rent subsidy they get.

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Creating Defensible Space

Pete Smith, Director of the Yonkers Housing Authority: I don’t have to tell you the whole thing is a resounding success. None of the anticipated nasty things happened. There was no transfer of crime from the projects—in fact, there is no crime at all in either the scattered sites or in the surrounding housing. There is no decline in property values in neighboring housing— as our newspaper’s own analysis found out—and there is no white flight. Boy, did that newspaper want it to be different. People in Yonkers expected a complete failure. Expectations were so low, we couldn’t lose. Ironically, the local newspaper helped us there. They were constantly saying that the scatteredsite units would introduce crime, reduce property values, and send everybody running. When none of that happened, the pres­ ence of low-income African Americans in their neighborhoods didn’t seem all that important. Actually, we began winning when the community saw the buildings go up and the quality of the designs. They couldn’t believe it— couldn’t believe that we and HUD had actually kept our word. Then, when they saw the attitudes of residents who moved in—their concern for their grounds, their own policing of each other, their deference to their neighbors—the nightmare simply vanished. There is still very little one-on-one social interaction between tenants and surrounding residents at most of the sites, but then we expected that. There are occasional community picnics when they do interact, but that’s not what I mean. But they know that each of them is there, and behave with respect accordingly, and that’s what’s important. There isn’t even minor theft among residents on the sites, and you know what it can be like in public housing: people stealing each others’ curtains. The residents now store their outdoor things openly in their individual back yards: bicycles, barbecues, lawn chairs, tents. These yards are only separated from each other by low 3-foot fences. Yet nothing disappears. That’s because everyone knows it would have to be an inside job. You can’t get into the collective rear yard area from the outside

104

and the big subject for them is. “When will we be able to buy our units?” If drug dealing goes on in the scattered sites. they catch on. The only thing I’d do differently is not design any of the sites with more than 20 to 24 units. If his neighbors see too much traffic to his house. parking on neighboring streets. They wanted to know how far they could go in assuming control of the grounds. These community meetings were held in parking lots. I know we didn’t have a choice: 105 . We set up tenants to be leaders on each site. peoples’ apartments. After they moved in. This was such an op­ portunity for all the residents. they knew they had to make it work. Residents kept encountering things they were not prepared for. Peer group pressure among the residents was the key. one who would be conscientious and flexible. They were chosen at the orien­ tation program by the tenants themselves. If a resident chooses to sell drugs from his apartment. Each of the seven sites had four or five meetings a year for the first 2 years: until things settled down. And he never knows who is going to drop a dime on him. There is no anonymity in the scattered-site projects and the bordering streets. We are all learning our way in this thing. [and] paint washing off the interior walls when they cleaned them. community meetings continued to play an important part in the acclimatization process. A basic requirement of drug dealers is being able to blend in with the scenery. and community rooms. With the residents doing such a good job of maintaining their own grounds.Chapter Four: Dispersed. he becomes very vulnerable. so the dealers can spot a cop before the cop spots them. it is not evident. There were complaints about neighbors misbehaving. That’s why it was important that we select a good main­ tenance man. upkeep of the nonprivate areas of the scattered sites becomes critically important. It is not in-your-face as it is in the large projects in the southwest. We can’t do less of a job than they do. police not responding quickly enough. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers because of the high 6-foot fencing that encloses the collective of individual rear yards. Now the meetings are fewer.

They don’t always report that they are working though. they will do much better because of it. They’re too isolated from their surrounding communities. some don’t. The residents’ self-esteem really went up. It was your modifications to the Clason Point public housing project that sold me on Defensible Space. They’re not totally integrated into an overall commu­ nity. I. but there is something special there. and making it clear to the whole world that if there was a mess on their front yard. not supervised by the surrounding middle-class residents. that’s what convinced me. for me the best test of the Defensible Space theory was not the way the residents took over their own grounds and then began to defend the entire project. they form their own place. Their kids share in that. but it is the way they take care of their garbage cans next to their front walks. I can’t quantify it. Making garbage disposal an individual thing. it was the tenants’ own doing. You know. A lot of people now have jobs in the local businesses and institu­ tions—some admit it. They are so big.Creating Defensible Space God knows we struggled to get the seven sites we did. will come back to haunt us. But the 2 big sites. And at one time we did have 10 sites and so could have put fewer units on each. they’re afraid they’ll have to pay more rent. an amazing difference in their self-image. They are finding jobs in local stores. but seeing how the residents there reacted to the opportunity. I kind of expected that. 106 . didn’t think that would work. frankly. brought something out of the tenants that showed the whole world how badly they had been prejudged. I bump into residents on occasion when shopping. with 48 units on 1 and 44 on the other. Down the road. They seem so much more sure of themselves. It’s not that the con­ cept didn’t make sense intuitively. I think we’re going to see a difference in the way the big sites perform and in the kids that come out of them.

There was apprehension in not knowing what sort of reception they would receive from their white suburban neighbors.000 households.000 of our 6. 107 . But ev­ erybody in the authority has been following this closely. that is 2. only one-third of our existing tenants put their names on the list. Scattered-Site Public Housing in Yonkers When we held the lottery. I know for a fact that 60 percent of our households would put their names on the list. and if another lottery were held tomorrow.Chapter Four: Dispersed. tenants and management.

OH. Evaluation of the Five Oaks Neighborhood Stabilization Plan. NY. 109 . Social Science Research Center. 1986. O.S. University of Dayton: Dayton. OH.S. Washington. Newman. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Washington. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck. “Fair Housing: The Conflict Between Integration and Nondiscrimination. U. U. DC. City of Plantation. 1985. 1994. Commission on Civil Rights. A Consultation/ Hearing of the U. DC. 1992. O.REFERENCES City of Dayton. OMB. NY. 12–13. Safe Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan for District 7. O. C. DC.. 1994. 1987. O. Newman. Commission on Civil Rights: Washington. O. Newman. Improving the Viability of Two Dayton Communities: Five Oaks and Dunbar Manor. Newman. 1993. 1982. Report to the U. NY. Florida. Newman. Analysis of 50 Sites in Nine Competing CCP Cities. Kimble. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck. E. Reorganization Plan for the Chicago Housing Authority. Report on the Five Oaks Neighborhood Surveys. Institute for Community Design Analysis. Institute for Community Design Analysis: Great Neck.S. Nov. Great Neck. Long-Term Housing Plan to Achieve Integration in the City of Yonkers. et al. Department of Justice on the suitability of applying Defen­ sible Space technology. O. 1989. NY.S. Newman. City of Dayton: Dayton.” Issues in Housing Discrimination.

O. Design Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space. “The Effects of Building Size on Personal Crime and Fear of Crime. DC. 1976. Community of Interest. Franck. Newman. O. A preliminary evaluation prepared for the U. Housing Design and Children’s Anti-social Behavior. Proposal for Improving the Amsterdam Bijlmermeer New Town. Crime Prevention Techniques in Commercial Establish­ ments. and K. 5. Johnston. Franck. 1981.S.S. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. and K. Department of Justice.S. Factors Influencing Crime and Instability in Urban Housing Developments. Design Standards for Homeless Men Shelters in New York City. Newman. Newman. 1982. Newman. DC. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. O. No. Department of Justice: Washington. 1980. Government Printing Office: Washington. 110 . Anchor Press/Doubleday: Garden City. Expert testimony to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. O. The Netherlands.Creating Defensible Space Newman.S. Division of Adult Services. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. NY.. O. A study for the National Institute of Mental Health. 1982.” Population and Environment. The Netherlands. 1980. Newman. U. A Model Security Code for Residential Areas. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. and S.. A study for the Ford Foundation providing security components to be added to standard building codes.. O. O.000-unit new town outside Amsterdam. 1981. Franck. U. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 1975. 1980.. U. Newman. Gemeentelijke Dienst Volkshuisvesting. O. Newman. Amsterdam. A plan for rescuing the 12. Newman. and K. O. A study undertaken for the New York State Department of Social Services.

. The Private Streets of St. Design Guide for Improving Residential Security. New Frontiers in Architecture. Louis. Department of Development and Planning: Chicago. 1971.References Newman. Newman. A study for the New York City Department of Corrections directed at improving conditions following the prison riots. Newman. O. and F. O. 1974. 1961. D. Architectural Design for Crime Prevention. 1973. O. O.S. O. Newman. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. Inventory of Space Availability in Four New York City Detention Facilities. Grandin. U. 6. O. Park Mall: Lawndale. Wayno. An early exploration of the effects of architectural design on perception and behavior. DC. Newman. New York: Macmillan. 1973. U. Newman. Universe Books: New York. O. Government Printing Office: Washington. Government Printing Office: Washington. Doubleday. A summary of the 1959 International Congress of Modern Architects conference in Otterlo. Ch. The reuse of public streets and re­ dundant arterials in neighborhood rehabilitation. 1968. Newman. City of Chicago. Institute for Community Design Analysis: New York. 1980). A National Science Foundation study (summarized in Community of Interest. 1972. DC.S. 111 . Defensible Space.

Addendum A
Defensible Space Guidelines Used in Yonkers RFP

(This edited and shortened version of the original RFP speaks primarily to design guidelines concerning Defensible Space.)

■ Background
This is a request for proposals for the construction of public housing units for families with children, to be built on seven preselected sites in the eastern part of Yonkers. This housing is being built as a remedy to a Federal Court judgment. Both the City of Yonkers and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have entered into Consent Decrees to further the construction of this housing. The sites have been acquired by the City of Yonkers. The Court has ordered the City to make them available at no cost for use by the turnkey devel­ oper selected to develop the public housing units. The selection will be made by the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority (MHA) and approved by HUD. Two-story townhouse dwelling units have been chosen as the most appropriate form of housing: (1) to best serve the future residents; and (2) to fit into the single-family residential character of the existing neighborhoods. The advantage of the townhouse design is that each unit is its own entity, belonging to one single family. It has its own front and back yard, and independent entrances serving only that family. The townhouse has no public circulation spaces—no lobbies, stairways, or corridors—which often create problems in low-income developments. The cost of proposals that exceed HUD’s Total Development Cost (TDC) guidelines (as found in Section C) will not be rejected by MHA for that reason alone; however, HUD has made no commitment that it will provide funds for any costs in excess of those cost guidelines, and accordingly, has reserved the right to reject any proposals exceeding

113

Creating Defensible Space

them. Sources of funds other than HUD’s may be made available to provide for costs in excess of the cost guidelines.

■ Definitions
1. Townhouse Units: A townhouse unit is a two-story house serving only one family. It shares common side walls with other townhouse units. Each townhouse will have its own entry front and rear and its own front and rear yard. Refer to the New York State Building Code for the maximum number of townhouse units that can be grouped together under different fire designations. 2. Units for the Handicapped: A dwelling unit for the handicapped must be located entirely on the first floor level. It must be designed to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. HUD requires that 5 percent of all units be provided for the handicapped per site. 3. Dwelling Units above Handicapped Units: A second floor walkup dwelling unit will be permitted above the handi­ capped unit, but it must have a separate individual entrance at ground level. That is to say, the family living on the second floor is to have its own entry at street level which leads to a stair to the second floor. In MHA’s definition there will be no interior areas common to more than one family. 4. Units for the Visually and Hearing Impaired: HUD requires that in addition, 2 percent of all units be provided for the visually and hearing impaired. These units are to be designed to comply with the Public Housing Development Accessibility Requirements (No­ tice PIH 88-34) (attached to this RFP). These dwelling units shall be distributed among the sites as shown.

114

Addendum A

■ Selection of proposals
Proposals will be selected by MHA on the basis of free and open compe­ tition. Evaluation will be objectively conducted in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in the Proposal Evaluation Criteria, which follow later. All proposals must comply with the project planning, design and cost criteria detailed in chapters 3, 6, 9, and 10 of the Public Housing Development Handbook and applicable cost containment and modest design requirements of HUD Notice PIH90–16 and Public Housing Cost Guidelines.

■ Zoning
The Federal District Court has ordered that all sites are deemed to be appropriately zoned for the housing called for in this RFP. The guidelines and constraints for the development of the sites are specified in the Design Criteria paragraph and Design Parameters. Developers are spe­ cifically asked to refer to the changes in the Yonkers Zoning Code al­ lowed for in this RFP as regards to existing setback requirements and parking ratios.

■ Design criteria
1. Building Design All buildings shall have pitched shingle roofs for drainage and aesthetic purposes. In order to individualize the separate units, the Developer shall endeavor where possible, and in compliance with HUD’s Cost Containment Guidelines, to employ visual breaks, changes in plane or roof line, and/ or varied architectural expression (e.g. variation in window sizes, color, texture, etc.), especially in the development of the building elevations. The exterior walls shall have a brick veneer at the first story. The second story should be a maintenance free material.

115

whose units also face the street. the fronts of buildings. Parking may be placed between the side walls of townhouse groupings as long as the nearest automobile space is not closer to the street than the front line of the building. This will serve to create a collective private zone (consisting of a grouping of individual rear yards) that is inaccessible from the public street but accessible from the interior of each unit. The parameters to be used are as follows: The front yards. The amount of collective fencing needed to enclose the collective group­ ings of rear yard areas can be minimized through the judicious place­ ment of buildings and rear yards. 4. the rear yards serving individual units should be backed onto the rear yards of other units so that a collec­ tive grouping of rear yards can be easily fenced off together using a col­ lective 6’0” high fence. This will also enable residents across the street.Creating Defensible Space 2. security should be given very serious consideration in the development of these site plans. Walks: Walks shall be provided for safe convenient direct access to each unit and for safe pedestrian circulation throughout a development between facilities and locations where major need for pedestrian access can be 116 . Security: Page 1 of HUD’s Manual of Acceptable Practices cites two references for site design to achieve security: Architectural Design for Crime Prevention (U. 3. Government Printing Office) and Defensible Space (Macmillan). and the main entries to units shall face existing streets or new driveways so as to facilitate normal patrolling by police cars and police response to residents’ request for assistance.S. Concrete wheel stops at curbs are to be provided at every parking space. Since security has become an increasingly important issue for public housing and for the communities that surround them. Parking: All parking areas are to be positioned a minimum distance of 10 feet from any building and should be positioned to facilitate surveillance from the units. To the extent that the site will allow. to survey their neighbors front doors.

Addendum A anticipated. Planting that hides the pedestrian from the motorist until he steps out on the street should be avoided. 7. and entrances to units. ramps.1 Rev.5 foot candles minimum for parking lots and walkways. ■ Selection of proposals Proposals will be selected by the Municipal Housing Authority on the basis of free and open competition. Additional attention is required where driveways enter streets. Parking lighting poles shall have a minimum height of 25’0” and pedestrian walk lighting poles a height of 12’0” to 15’0”. The intensity shall be 0. at crosswalks and especially in areas of concentrated mixed pedestrian and vehicular movement. Walks shall be located so that they are easily surveyed from the interior of units. and 4. Inground garbage containers are the preferred solution by MHA and shall be designed to hold two garbage receptacles. Lighting: Lighting is to be provided for the entire developed site with concentra­ tions at walks. Planting: Planting should not be placed so as to screen the doors and windows of dwelling units from the street or from walks leading from the street to dwelling unit entries. ramps. 6. dated October 1980. Plant material should be selected and arranged to permit full safe sight distance between approaching vehicles at street intersections. Garbage and Refuse Storage: Individual.0 foot candles for townhouse entrances. 5. as amended by this RFP. paragraphs 6–42 and 6–43. The design treatment and construction of garbage and refuse stations and containers should prevent access to them by pests or animals. outdoor garbage storage areas are to be provided and posi­ tioned to serve each dwelling unit. 117 . 1. and steps. Proposals will be evaluated objec­ tively in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in HUD Handbook 7417. parking lots. as well as the following Evaluation Criteria.

.. A...e. if necessary. permitting....... Under this procedure.... 20 points max.... ranking.... The developer is asked to follow them as closely as possible.... 118 .. If all resubmitted proposals are again found nonresponsive.. This meeting will be held to review the rating....... and be given an opportunity to submit a redesigned proposal. 20 points max........Creating Defensible Space In the event that all proposals are determined to be “nonresponsive....... MHA reserves the right to solicit a second round of proposals.” i... perceived capability in completing this project.. Developer’s price .. it will hold a meeting with those respondents who were not selected........... further increases in price....... Previous experience in successfully developing and completing similar projects.... MHA and HUD reserve the right to negotiate with the developer of the proposal considered most desirable to rectify deficiencies.. which may involve a higher price..... ■ Proposal evaluation criteria Proposals will be evaluated on a point system based on the four criteria below. require major corrections in order to conform to the requirements of the RFP...... and financial viability.. each developer will be informed of the reasons his/her proposal was determined nonresponsive.. After MHA has made its official announcement of designation..... Superior = below 90 percent of median Average = 90–100 percent of median Poor = more than 100 percent of median B.... and selection process.... The total developer’s price as a percent of the median price for all responsive turnkey proposals.... Developer’s qualifications ...

parking........... and allows the unit front entries and windows to be ob­ served from the street. drainage.... planting design.... Site development plan .. construction material and equipment will be used. (i) Special design features The degree to which the design incorporates features that provide for efficient project operations and lower maintenance costs. streets...... low-maintenance.... Maximum 5 points (iii) Material and equipment The extent to which durable. Maximum 15 points (ii) Architectural treatment The degree to which the exterior design of the dwelling units captures the scale....Addendum A C. 40 points max..... (i) Site development layout The extent to which the site development plan conforms to the Design Criteria regarding the layout of topography/grading......... Maximum 5 points 119 . 20 points max. and character of the neighborhood.... materials.... Maximum 15 points (iii) Unit layout The extent to which the dwelling unit floor plans and layout provides functional housing arrangements.. slope stability......... and open space development.... utility plan. Maximum 10 points D....... allows residents to supervise activities in the streets... Maximum 5 points (ii) Energy-saving features The extent to which the design provides for long-term energy savings by incorporating the use of energy conservation features....... Design and construction quality..

....... This will make the rear yards inaccessible from the public street but acces­ sible from the interior of each dwelling.. Maximum 5 points Total Maximum. the developer’s price criteria will be rated against HUD’s latest TDC for townhouse construction in Westchester County. Proposals will be evaluated based on the point system described above. 100 points max.... Ratings will be...Creating Defensible Space (iv) Security The extent to which the rear yards are backed onto other rear yards.. for each criteria.... so that a collective grouping of rear yards can be fenced off together. 120 . Average (value 40 percent to 69 percentage points) and (3) Poor (value 0 to 39 percentage points).. (1) Superior (value 70 percent to 100 percentage points)....... The rating will be a gradation of 100 points spread among the four crite­ ria. If only one proposal is submitted..

Addendum B Tenant Training Course Conducted by Housing Education Relocation Enterprise Tenants were given 2 hours of orientation and 2 hours of counseling in the following five subjects: Tenant relocation 1. What are the three phases of relocation? 3. landlord responsibilities? 2. How do tenants move? 6. How do tenants prepare for the move? 5. How do tenants adapt to their new community? Home maintenance 1. What do tenants need to know about their new housing units? 2. What do tenants need to know about trash/garbage removal? 121 . What is the relocation schedule/timetable? 4. SPRINT) b) Washer/dryer (Manufacturer) c) Heating/air conditioning (CON-EDISON) d) Stove/refrigerator (Manufacturer) 3. What are leases? Tenant responsibilities. MCI. What do tenants need to know about their utilities? a) Telephone company (NYNEX.

What constitutes good tenant/tenant relations? 3. What benefits do resident councils provide? a) Methods or organization b) Democratic processes c) Problem solving d) Conflict resolution e) MHA grievance procedure Safety/security 1. What do tenants need to know about outdoor home recreation? Interpersonal relations 1. What is the MHA evacuation plan? 2. How does a tenant identify and properly utilize public health services? a) Department of public works b) Fire department c) City emergency services d) Ambulance/medical services 122 . What do tenants need to know about parking? 5. What constitutes good tenant/neighbor relations? 4. What constitutes good tenant/landlord relations? 2.Creating Defensible Space 4. What constitutes good police/community relations? 3.

Addendum B e) Hospitals/clinics f) Night/neighborhood watch programs Community resources 1. Religious services 123 . What family services are available to the tenants? a) Youth services b) Parks/recreation c) Libraries d) Cultural services e) Shopping centers f) Banking services g) Postal services h) Personal maintenance 2. Transportation a) Buses b) Trains c) Cabs/private transportation 3.

C. D EN T ING R BA N D EVELO M AN D P Equal Housing Opportunity U .S. 20410–6000 Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300 FIRST-CLASS MAIL POSTAGE & FEES PAID HUD Permit No. D.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research Washington. G–795 EP N T M E T OF H AR O US U.U.

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