We recently received an update from our students Monica and Diana who are wrapping up their internship with VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) in Cape Town, South Africa. They’ve sent pictures from their visits to Monwabisi Park in the Khayelitsha township, where VPUU is developing an in-situ upgrading plan with the aim of reducing crime. The plan includes the Emthonjeni Outreach Programme, conceived as a multifunctional platform for children to play in a safe environment while their early childhood development needs are attended to free of charge.
VPUU was launched by the City of Cape Town in 2005 and works with multiple local and international partners to implement social engagement and urban design as tools in fighting crime. Their six urban upgrading initiatives to significantly reduce crime are:
- Increased surveillance through neighbourhood watch patrols, 24-hour community watch towers (known as ‘Active Boxes‘), the use of multi-purpose work-live units, and the introduction of ‘Safe Node Areas’ – each of which caters to around 50,000 people;
- Clearly defined boundaries between properties to encourage greater responsibility among residents;
- Safer pedestrian passageways, through use of street lighting and paved walkways;
- Aesthetically pleasing buildings and facilities to discourage criminal acts;
- Well-kept buildings that are respected by residents and which deter illegal activities;
- Higher physical barriers between properties in order to prevent criminal mobility.
Since its inception, VPUU has brought down murder rates by 39% and has been nominated for various international urban planning awards.
Enjoy the photos!