Jane Jacobs and Safe Streets by Lana Valente

We’ve only discussed Jane Jacobs for one single class period thus far, but I already admire her articulate voice and her strength in her field. We went over some topics in class that I felt were incredibly important in successful placemaking. To start simply, safe streets… What does that mean?

Everyone wants to feel safe in their neighborhood. Suspicion and fear are strong adversaries in any community, healthy or otherwise. Therefore, Jane Jacobs’ commentary on safe streets and the importance of friendly faces cannot be understated. “Eyes on the street,” and the way people behave in public spaces have an incredible influence on the development of that place, be it negative or positive.

In our readings and in my own experience during our Borgo Bello walk, I began to understand the factors that contribute to a “safer,” public space. Something as simple as little artworks can do wonders for an area– as seen below. Whether the location is the nicest or not, it offers a sense of comfort. As Jane Jacobs addressed, the eyes on the street carry a strong feeling of community power, as the members take carry of their own. As placemakers, I assume our ultimate goal is to have our community members take control of their own space– after they’re given a bit of a push. Helping to provide safe streets– or the illusion of safety– are the first step in the further development of a public space.

I look forward to exploring more of Borgo Bello and initiating some new placemaking tactics, as supported by Jane Jacobs.

(Pictured: A Borgo Bello painting on the street that made it feel more welcoming, if not a little safer! Finds from 12/9/17.)


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