LEFT OF DAYTON

…AND THE GATES CAME TUMBLING DOWN | August 1, 2007

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About a dozen years ago the city of Dayton, in conjunction with the Five Oaks Neighborhood Improvement Association {FONIA} fell into the clutches of the DEFENSIBLE SPACE Movement. This theory of urban control posited that, by breaking larger neighborhoods into smaller, so called “mini-neighborhoods” bracketed by gates that blocked off various streets it would produce a larger sense of “community”. Ten years later the result seem pretty clear.

Most of the people who fought FOR the gates, the leadership of the “movement” have moved OUT of 5 Oaks. There are dozens of boarded up and abandoned homes and, lo and behold, in recent months more and more of the original internal gates have been unhinged and taken down. All this after an effort that cost the City of Dayton over a million dollars in repairs and maintenance costs. Defensible Space as an urban concept seems to be on its way out the door in Dayton, at least in the extreme methodology that was applied to 5 Oaks.

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2 Comments »

  1. Your first two blog entries are interesting. The gated community issue was a really bothersome one to me at the time but not being a resident I surely felt commenting would be inappropriate. And during the last couple of years I went up and down a few streets and found the inconvenience maddening and the ongoing blight overwhelming. It appeared to me that gating things up hadn’t solved anything much. Perhaps a few dope dealers were dissuaded, but I doubt it.

    As for the Prostitutes, your suggestion seems logical and appropriate. Nothing else has worked. It’s quite sad that certain areas of town have been deemed by “some mysterious and anonymous persons” to be OK places for prostitution and drug dealing. Who said it was OK? That’s the $64 dollar question. Don’t hold your breath for any answer.

    Comment by maddibee — August 2, 2007 @ 1:34 am

  2. I had an aquaintance who lived in Five Oaks, and found the gate system difficult to navigate, which I guess was the itnent. But I also saw the neighborhood continue to decline, even without the gates.

    I think the concept of defensible space is a good one, but it requires more than just physical design. The idea was to break Five Oaks into little sub-neighborhoods, but if these places didn’t really function as close-knit neighborhoods where people did keep an eye out on things, no amount of gates or design is going to help.

    Also, if I recall right the idea was intended, originally, not so much as a retrofit concept, but a way of designing new housing developments.

    Comment by Jeff — August 2, 2007 @ 11:05 pm


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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