Rethinking Urban Safety Through Creative Interventions
Are creative cities safer cities? That’s one question we explored indepth at this year’s Radical Collaboration Lab, Safer Cities. The desire to improve urban safety is shared worldwide, but to what extent does creativity play a role in this? Looking at examples of existing creative initiatives; from virtual learning environments, to traffic mimes, to the removal of advertising –- we can explore how design can help shape (or inadvertently invoke) the future of social integration, crime prevention and enhanced safety.
Currently, over half of the global population are believed to be living in an urban area or city, with the percentage set to rise close to 70% in the coming decades. Urbanisation, especially in developing countries, has been accompanied by increased levels of crime, violence, lawlessness, and societal conflict: The Global Network for Safer Cities (GNSC) reveal that sixty percent of all urban residents in developing countries have been victims of crime, with women, young people, and those living with insecure land tenure who face the most acute risks. Although stronger juristical measures have evolved over time, the need for preventative measures are still necessary to tackle this issue head-on.
So how can creativity play a role, and what can we learn from existing projects in order to strengthen future initiatives? Here are some examples of organisations and creatives taking new directions in urban safety.
Safer Cities Lab
On the 6th of December CFIA, together with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) and What Design Can Do organizez a workshop for kick-starting our Urban Living Lab which focuses on issues of safety and security in urban (informal) settings.
This workshop is part of the Creative Cities are Safer Cities initiative to engage creative industry for (frugal) solutions for safer cities. The initiative departs from the idea that besides good urban governance, management and planning, creativity is key to arrive at safer cities, in particular the creativity that is vested in and can be found among creatives like designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs who in many cases work and live in the informal sector in unsafe and insecure neighbourhoods.
What happened during the lab?
A Radical Collaboration Lab is a hands on design research experience, focused on gaining a deep understanding of a problem and at the same time developing new perspectives on it. This lab focused on new perspectives, which aims to exclusively rethink and reframe, offering new angles and methods to approach a problem. The lab was discussion and research oriented, with a future goal to establish new connections, projects and design challenges.
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