Designing for A Safer Public Housing Community: A Case Study of Chester Le, Toronto

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Qi, Hongyan
public housing , community safety , environmental design , urban planning
Crime and fear of crime are major concerns confronting public housing tenants today. Public housing tenant population is usually composed of groups of people who have traditionally been found to be more vulnerable to violence and have greater fear of criminal victimization. In response to the increasing level of fear of crime and urban violence, a physical structure-based approach to crime prevention and management of urban spaces, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), was emerged and prevailed in the planning profession in recent years. This research project examined the links between the characteristics of the built environment, fear of crime, and community safety in a public housing project, the Chester Le community, located in L’Amoreaux neighbourhood in northeast Toronto. The objective of this study was to identify and examine the potential impact of physical design features on the perception of safety in Chester Le and determine how the perception of safety can be improved by modifying these design features. The research used evaluation criteria established in the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children’s (METRAC’s) Community Safety Audit (CSA) tool and the City of Toronto’s safety design guideline, A Working Guide for Planning and Designing Safer Urban Environments, to provide specific recommendations to improve the community safety around the public housing areas in Chester Le, and make informed policy recommendations for TCHC to better address community safety issues in general.
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