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Cape Town urban design changes reduce violence

Live-work units built through the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading program (Cathy Skilicorn Architects)

Can a city tap the power of design to make its streets safer? J. Green reports on The Dirt blog that Cape Town is reducing street violence through targeted infrastructure improvements. 

The enhancements include well-lit pedestrian walkways, community centers, sports complexes, playgrounds and parks. These and other changes reduced murders by 33 percent in one troubled township and 22 percent in another.

The changes are the result of the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) program, a five-year, $11 million effort that began in 2006 with the aim of transforming Cape Town’s roughest sections.

The German government and German Development Bank partnered with the city on the project. Ten more townships within Cape Town may join the program. The architectural changes are fostering a strong sense of community. Green reports that local citizens keep watch over new structures, which are free of graffiti.

The Dirt

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