Thriving Plants, Thriving Communities: How Green Space Affects Crime in Urban Environments
Sarah E. Adams
Green2015: A Plan for the First 500 Acres” is a proposal project in Philadelphia created by PennPraxis, looking to convert 500 acres of unused or vacant urban land in into green spaces (Steinberg et al., 2010). The proposal’s primary focus is the increased vegetative cover of school yards and empty lots as well as the creation community gar- dens and playgrounds in some of these spaces. The project cites many economic and health benefits for the city, including a paragraph which mentions that, “A study underway . . . at the University of Pennsylvania shows that the greening of lots . . . [has] contributed to reduction in crime, (p. 21)”. Though this study has not yet been published, there is a diversity of exist- ing research which concerns the relationship between green space and crime. The aim of this paper is to explore some of the findings of those works and connect it to the proposed changes for Philadelphia. By analyzing and compiling literature on community green spaces and crime rates, I hope to make the connection between theory and policy, looking at Green2015 as a model for potential changes in the ecological and social environment.