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Designing Spaces for Safety

News Article
CPTED is a great way to design the space around your business so that you can optimize safety for you and your community.
Published

When the executive director of Friends of the Green Loop, Keith Jones, reached out the Central Community Safety Team about assessing the Ankeny West Food Carts property, they were thrilled. 

Civic Life's Community Safety team has been providing assessments for property owners for decades. These assessments—referred to as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED—include a wide-range of recommendations including the assessment of tree placement, the correct use of lighting, and considerations around pedestrian and bicycle safety. 

The Community Safety team was invited to conduct a free CPTED analysis by looking at the Ankeny West Food Carts property, located at the perimeter of a small park bordered by Burnside, Ankeny, 8th and Park, a week before its grand opening. They visited the location twice—once in the daytime and once at night to assess community safety issues. The team looked closely at the area’s lighting and made suggestions for updating and repairing existing lights and pointed out trees that needed to be trimmed to increase visibility across the space. They also suggested installing a low fence at an area that opened onto the street of Burnside so that customers and children do not inadvertently wander into Burnside traffic.

CPTED is not only about managing physical space; it also includes designing spaces that support strong social connections. “We encouraged the food cart owners to get to know each other and exchange phone numbers. This creates community and encourages people to alert one another if there are issues,” said Sarah Berkemeier, Community Safety Coordinator. “We also recommended regular positive activity and installations at the site to keep people engaged and using the site appropriately. The park (unofficially called the Plaza) will be used for eating, live music and art shows, local vendors and some permanent art installations.”

The Ankeny West food carts received funding from Mayor Wheeler’s Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget to support small businesses, economic recovery, and livability. The space officially opened on July 24 and is located on the Green Loop at the North Park Blocks. 

“Keith Jones and Friends of the Green Loop have created something special in this space,” said Jenni Pullen, Community Safety Coordinator. “It has historically been an area with negative activity. Now, it is a multi-cultural experience with family run food carts representing food from around the world. A CPTED assessment supports the safety of the vendors and all who move through the space, whether to stop and enjoy, or just pass through. The whole block, its neighboring buildings, and visitors coming into Portland all benefit.”

CPTED is a great way to design the space around your business so that you can optimize safety for you and your community. If you are interested in learning more or are curious about getting an assessment, you can contact the Community Safety team at 503-823-4064.