Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Penn Law Review: Mixed Use Safer Than Mono-Use Commercial

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review published a far-reaching study of Los Angeles by four researchers who found that mixed-use areas have lower crime rates than mono-use commercial areas.  The authors summarize:

First, we conducted a study of the effect of zoning on crime using 205 blocks selected in eight different relatively high crime neighborhoods in Los Angeles that have similar demographic characteristics but different forms of zoned land use. We find that mixed commercial- and residential-zoned areas are associated with lower crime than are commercial-only zoned areas.  Second, we matched neighborhoods undergoing zoning changes between2006 and 2010 with neighborhoods that underwent no zoning changes during this period but had similar preexisting crime trajectories between 1994 and 2005. The primary zoning change in these neighborhoods was to convert parcels to residential uses. We find that neighborhoods in which there was a zoning change experienced a significant decline in crime. Our results suggest that mixing residential-only zoning into commercial blocks may be a promising means of reducing crime. 
The authors give credence to Jane Jacobs' "eyes on the street" theory as a crime deterrent (though they disagree with her with respect to the impact of taverns and question the theory's efficacy when inserting commercial in a residential area), published in 1961's The Death and Life of Great American Cities:
Individuals who act as “eyes on the street” and are proactive in calling the police, or asking questions of potential criminals, may be more prevalent in areas where natural surveillance makes the observation of strangers on the street easier. The process by which individuals living in neighborhoods actively intervene in ways that discourage problem behaviors has been termed “collective efficacy.”
The authors state that "increasing walkability through zoning changes could substantially influence the crime rates on city blocks in Los Angeles."  That makes sense.  Its hard to give meaningful surveillance when in a car speeding at 45 miles per hour.

You can find the full article at THIS LINK.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kevin Tyjeski

Kevin Tyjeski, adjunct professor with the Rollins College Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism program,  passed away unexpectedly last week.  He left his family and colleagues too young, but left an indelible mark on the City of Orlando as a planner and, more recently, as deputy director of economic development.  Kevin's students will no doubt carry on his legacy.  Rollins College posted the sad news of his passing at this link.  Kevin was preparing a manuscript for a book about the history of Baldwin Park.  I hope that, one day, someone else finishes the manuscript in honor of his lasting contributions to Central Florida.

Here's a LINK to a PowerPoint presentation Kevin gave to the Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference in 2011. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bike Lanes Along Brick Streets

The City of Orlando installed smooth concrete bike lanes along East Livington Street, providing bicycle access to downtown on a beautiful route.  The concrete lanes are much more pleasant to ride on than brick.  The bike lanes end before narrow intersections, where motor vehicles and bicyclists share the road.  Because it's a low-speed environment, it feels safe.  Good job, Orlando.  

East Livingston Street, Orlando, Florida