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- Safety in our public spaces: Can infrastructural, social or technological interventions save us? – (Report/Study)
The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) defines public spaces as shared centres of community life and generators of social inclusion and cohesion. These spaces need to guarantee personal safety if they are to attract people from all community spheres. Quality public spaces are founded on participatory and inclusive infrastructure development, maintenance and management that include accessibility, accountable police services and effective law enforcement.
South African shopping centres, sports centres and certain community centres tend to provide a degree of safety for citizens who wish to meet and socialise in these spaces. The majority of public spaces however including parks, transport hubs, streets, and even libraries, community and recreational centres, are perceived as unsafe. This Dialogue brought to light the view that one of the key issues with these public spaces is poorly designed, broken-down, outdated, neglected and in some cases inaccessible infrastructure that does not serve community needs. As a result, they become empty spaces that often attract criminals and related unsafe behaviour.
With its focus on the role of infrastructure and technological development in improving the safety of public spaces, the 41st Infrastructure Dialogue focused on infrastructure design and build within precinct management, as well as the application of technologies for surveillance and improved visibility. The Dialogue highlighted the importance of community engagement and the imperative to build trust for effective implementation and sustainability.
The Infrastructure Dialogues are hosted jointly by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the South African Cities Network, the National Business Initiative, the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department in the Presidency, and the Department of Economic Development, with the Engineering News as media partner.