The story is set between and   in Yonkers , New York , a city north of New York City in Westchester County , and focuses on efforts to desegregate public housing. Sand ruled against Yonkers and issued a desegregation order,  mandating that public housing for units — possibly scattered-site public housing "SSPH" , which became the example of new public housing — be built in the middle-class, mostly white, east side of Yonkers. Wasicsko faced a hostile city council and entrenched public housing leaders opposed to the desegregation. Basic services stopped and parks and libraries were shuttered, with government workers potentially facing mandatory lay-offs.
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Personal and defensible space Over the next twelve months or so I will be putting together a whole new section on designing out crime which will show how defensible space can play a vitally important role in preventing crime. So, without going into too much detail now, I will give you a basic description of what this is, using a terraced house as an example. Oscar Newman argued that good design can help the resident feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the area around them, which will encourage them to defend it and that the more space that is under the control and influence of the residents the less there is for the criminal to operate in.
It has to be said though that the effectiveness of defensible space depends largely on the willingness and particularly the ability of the people in control of it to self police it, but by and large it seems to have worked well in the UK.
The theory suggests that the more private a space is, the more control and influence a resident has over it. Taking my terraced house as an example, the rear garden and the house can be described as totally private and I think you would agree that a resident would probably take some physical action to defend it.
Rules of behaviour apply to semi-private space of course and so if it was a sunny day and the milkman decided to sunbathe on the front lawn then the occupier would have something to say about it and has every right to do so because she owns the lawn and has control over it. Interestingly, an open planned front garden is not quite so easy to defend, because there is nothing in particular to define the changeover from public to private space and therefore nothing to stop people and dogs looking for a nice toileting area from walking on it.
You may need planning permission though. Another solution I have seen comprises a white plastic chain about to mm off the ground, loosely hung between tiny plastic posts. Even this tiny physical barrier seems to reduce the amount of trespass over the lawn, but I suppose it could also be deemed a trip hazard — can you ever win?
The public footpath and arguably the public road immediately outside the terraced house could be described as semi-public space. Once again behavioural rules apply, even to this semi-public space, and so if a couple of yobs started mucking about right outside the house this behaviour would probably prompt a reaction from the resident.
As you move away from the house down the road a bit, the space becomes fully public to the resident and she has no control over it whatsoever.
Bad behaviour down there might prompt a call to the police, but it is unlikely that she will intervene directly; this is for the residents down the road to do. Is defensible space an extension of personal space?
Many of you will have experienced that uncomfortable feeling in a busy lift when a stranger has to stand within your personal space. This personal space is normally that area within an outstretched arm.
It would be OK for your nearest and dearest to enter that space, but if a stranger does then the normal reaction is to take a step back and recreate the distance.
There is a famous experiment involving a man lying on a busy beach. Early on, when the beach was empty the man drew a circle in the sand to mark his spot. The area circled was much bigger than he actually needed, but as the film shows, the line in the sand was respected by other beach users throughout the several hours of filming.
Other beach users can be seen walking up to the circle in the sand and then walking around it, even to the point where one mum is seen grabbing her child to prevent it from entering the marked space.
The only person to enter the space during the experiment was a small boy retrieving his beach ball! The changes of a road surface texture or its colour as you drive off a main road into a housing estate and likewise, the use of different surface materials to mark parking spaces on the side of a street or bus lanes.
So, the message is less public space on housing estates and more private space.
Defensible space theory
It gives people a new respect for the work and territory of others by giving them territory of their own to prize and to wish to see respected The Yonkers school board says there is no decline in the quality and performance of children in the schools. 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. The influx of people from the rural areas of the South had overwhelmed the city. This agreement shall also contain the maximum cost under the agreement, specify the schedule of performance, and require that performance thereunder be conducted in accordance with the procedures and criteria set forth in the Administrative Manual for the Development of State Emergency Resources Management Plans.
Newman asserts that "the criminal is isolated because his turf is removed" when each space in an area is owned and cared for by a responsible party. The idea is that crime and delinquency can be controlled and mitigated through environmental design. A United States Department of Justice experiment in Hartford, Connecticut closed streets and assigned police teams to certain neighborhoods. New public housing projects were designed around ideas of limited access to the city, but Hartford did not show any dramatic drop in crime. Louis do have much lower crime than public streets. Louis, people had the capacity and incentives to defend their defensible spaces.