Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Broken Window Effect

"Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken."

"...vandalism can occur anywhere once communal barriers -- the sense of mutual regard and the obligations of civility -- are lowered by actions that seem to signal that "no one cares."



The idea perpetuating this article and the urban sociology text that it inspired is that preventing disorder is the first step in preventing crime (the field tends to neglect the former which leads to a shallow effect on the latter). The idea behind the theory itself is that broken windows, graffiti, run down homes or businesses give the impression that no one cares about the community and so further vandalism and crime will go unnoticed. Neglecting these minor symptoms is the fastest way to the deterioration of a neighborhood or community.

It wasn't necessarily the connection I was hoping people would make, but since critique, I am still lingering on the idea of alleys as a traditional symbol of danger and fear. I'm not sure it's the direction I want to take this project, but I think it's worth baring in mind the connection, and I think this brings up the first question I should pose to the class: Do these images in alleys suggest the typical fear associated with them or is it just when you begin to think about the transformation of these uncared for spaces that it brings up their usual connotations?

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