Improving public housing through applications of defensible space
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The U.S Housing Act of 1937 was intended to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans. For many, public housing was a vital element in the opportunity to live in a safe and secure environment. Constructed in response to an increased housing need, many of the public housing projects were designed using similar architectural styles and design patterns to produce a uniform living environment. Designed to serve as temporary housing and a suitable living environment for families, public housing has evolved to provide permanent housing for many of America’s families. Today, much of the public housing stock has fallen victim to social decline and deteriorating physical structures. Crime and violence have become common factors affecting the living conditions in these communities, producing an unsafe and unsecured living environment. The living conditions in these communities have severely declined to create deplorable housing opportunities and unsuitable socio-economic advancement. The physical setting is an essential factor in the current status of America’s public housing. The manipulation of the built environment to create safer living conditions is best examined through principles of defensible space. Based on opportunities for residents to control and monitor their living environment, defensible space incorporates elements of the physical setting in relation to community building. Through extensive review of relevant literature and detailed case study analysis, the research conducted examines the application of defensible space principles in an effort to produce safer public housing. The research on defensible space is intended todemonstrate that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime in public housing projects.