Durban - The Alliance Française in Durban tearing down it security walls in an effort to curb crime.
“Activating the edge with people, so the people then become the deterrent for crime,” said Paul Wygers, architects at Urban Solution, who was chosen to lead this project.
Alliance Française is a world-wide non-profit organisation network, that has bases in 134 countries around the world.
In 2016, as a response to a call for innovative research on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), the Alliance Française de Durban ran a competition to challenge the city’s leading architects to come up with a conceptual project under the theme ‘Imagine a World Without Walls’.
CPTED is a conceptual idea dating back to the 1960 in the United States of America, first thought by Architect Oscar Newman and developed further by criminologist Ray Jeffery.
The idea was to manipulate built structures to create safer neighbourhoods while also strengthening social cohesion and the need for self-policing.
The first phase of this project was to demolish the walls at the Alliance Française premises on 22 Sutton Crescent, Windermere, after obtaining planning permissions.
Wygers said the plan was to extend the premises restaurant to flow out into the street, which will make the place more appealing.
“What we are seeing today with the first part of the wall going down is the start of a long process of making the edge of this site active again instead of just being a wall and trying to connect this building to the spaces outside of it,” said Kruger.
Professor Monique Marks, a trained criminologist and Director of the Urban Futures Centre at Durban University of Technology (DUT), said the idea was spurned by the need of a new, aesthetically pleasing approach was to securitization.
“For many years I have been completely overwhelmed by the high walls that South African suburbanites have created around their dwellings. They have always struck me as confronting, offensive and aesthetically unappealing. But, more than this, I couldn’t shake the feeling that these walls, which were supposedly created to make people safer, were actually having the opposite effect,” she said.