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Do safety projects reduce the 'right to the city'?
The city is loaded with mystique, expectations and dreams, which are both utopian and dystopian. The city is exciting and scaring at the same time, it can protect us but also create dangerous places and situations. Fear and lack of safety have been heavily discussed during the latter part of 1990s in relation to urban environments, and crime prevention- and safer cities programmes have been implemented all around the world. Several different approaches to decrease crime and increase safety can be detected through examining crime prevention- and safer city guidelines. The ideological backgrounds clearly differ and so does the physical and social outcomes of the projects. This implies different interpretations of what characterise a city and how urban life ideally should be organised. In addition, safety issues can come into conflict with other uses of the city that may not conform to the planned safety- and crime prevention work such as alternative cultural practices and small-scale or newly started enterprises, which often need low-value and worn down buildings to take place. Whose 'right to the city' is at stake here and which conflicting interests can be described?

The objective of this paper is to highlight the ambiguous and complex notion of the 'right to the city' by confronting safety issues with small-scale cultural and entrepreneurial activities in a city. This paper analyses this possibly clash. Firstly, through presenting three different approaches to deal with crime prevention and safety issues. A special attention is paid to women's fear, with the intention to problematise the conceptualisation of fear. Secondly, two examples from Gothenburg in Sweden are given to illustrate the conflict of the 'right to the city'. The first example illustrates how a safe city is conceived as a clean and beautiful urban environment and which consequences this approach have for people who need access to places that are not upgraded. The focus on aesthetic qualities may hide the fact that safety can be a subject on the agenda. The second example illuminates how safety work can operate in favour of people´s access to the public space. In the concluding discussion we try to understand the concept of the 'right to the city'. We suggest that fear and safety issues can be taken seriously, and at the same time strengthening opportunities for small-scale enterprises and alternative cultural practices to take place in an urban environment.

During the early 1990s the Mayor of New York opted for an austere crime prevention policy to deal with the homelessness, poverty and crime. The policy was successful insofar crime rates effectively decreased, but its social cost has been heavily criticised, for example the brutality of police interventions and the racism underlying it. The problem of homelessness was not solved instead homeless people were just squeezed out of the city (Smith 1999, Merrifield 2000). Behind this crime prevention method lies the theory by James Wilson and George Kelling, known as "Fixing Broken Windows". They describe a tipping process, how a nice neighbourhood quickly can turn from a nice place to a scary site:

stable neighbourhood of families who care for their homes, mind each other´s children, and confidently frown on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable jungle. A piece of property is abandoned, weeds grow up, a window is smashed. Adults stop scolding rowdy children; the children, emboldened, become more rowdy. Families move out, unattached adults move in. Teenagers gather in front of the corner store. The merchant asks them to move; they refuse. Fights occur. Litter accumulates. People start drinking in front of the grocery; in time, an inebriate slumps to the sidewalk and is allowed to sleep it off (Wilson and Kelling, quoted in Crawford 1998:130).

To prevent this process Wilson and Kelling propose that society, through the police, should brake this chain as quickly as possible. Through "Police Strategy No. 5", aiming at "Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York", this strategy of early intervention was implemented. The target was identified by the Mayor Giuliani himself as the "homeless people, panhandlers, prostitutes, squeegee cleaners, squatters, graffiti artists, 'reckless bicyclists', and unruly youths" whom according to him presented the "visible signs of a city out of control, a city that cannot protect its space or its children." By focusing on the signs of disorder the general morality amongst other citizens would also increase ­ an upward spiral.

The first crime prevention approach mentioned here is not new at all. It draws partly on the "Defensible Space" model developed primarily by Oscar Newman (1972). His aim was to reduce crime in neighbourhoods through designing housing estates in a way that made the surrounding spaces possible to control and defend. Through designing areas in a way that made it easier to recognise the neighbours, non-welcome guests could be distinguished and so the idea of territoriality was established. In contemporary Europe this idea comes back in the shape of "Situational Crime Prevention". Situational crime prevention does not state that you can design out crime, instead the idea is that situations can be inviting for criminal acts (Clarke 1998). Some places and situations are more likely to be scenes for crimes than others. The perpetrator is supposed to think "here is a window to be broken" or "here is a woman to be raped". By making it more difficult for the perpetrator to act, crime can be reduced. Common ways of doing so would include camera supervision (CCTV), locks and fences, but also by increasing the casual social control by guards or citizens in general. The increased social control is the main idea for both Newman and Clarke, and the impact of these theories is extensive. Today every citizen is obliged to be a part of this crime prevention scheme. The combination of surveillance, increasing the citizen morality and heightening police awareness can lead to harsh methods, as in New York.

These crime reduction methods are just as much focusing on unruly behaviours as focusing on crime. The issue is not primarily to reduce fear, but more to decrease costs due to crime and to increase the consumption rates in areas that suffer from urban decline. Insurance companies play a major role here and security industry lies behind a lot of the security technique implementations. The hegemonic authorities increase their possibility to control certain areas, the private economy gain from social cleansing and becomes more inviting for the customers with money, and the security industry increase their market. There are many winners altogether and the counter-powers are few, the problem with this approach is basically the long-term consequences, physically and socially, i.e. the exclusion of some people and the architectural closures of public space that comes with the intensified social control.

A second safer city approach, with a more open attitude towards social difference and urban life, draws on Jane Jacobs (1961). Here the anonymity, variation and strangers are regarded as an interesting part of urban life and the more people out on the street, the safer it will be. Her starting point is the actual urban life ­ starting from her own front door to see what really works in an urban culture. Safety is a natural offspring of a flourishing city and a certain degree of disorder and chaos is also a sign of creativity according to Jacobs.

This approach is very much adopted in Scandinavia, with Denmark as a role model. With Strøget, the world's longest pedestrian shopping street, Copenhagen prides itself of being a city of human scale and with a lively inner city, which provides for pedestrians and cyclist before cars. During cold days the cafés supply the customers with a blanket so they can enjoy even early spring and late autumn outside on the street. The aim is an interesting city for everybody, never empty and with mixed used functions. To gain an urban atmosphere a city needs a certain degree of density, population and architectural wise, which usually is less in the periphery's mono functional areas (Danish Standard 1996). But when building new areas, even in the urban outskirts, this approach is more and more common, as in the concept of "New Urbanism". A common expectation amongst planners and others is that this is the kind of city that most people enjoy, but it can also in its most extreme version come out like a Disneyland or in an ethnic cleansed area like in a semi-gated communities.

Jacobs claimed that parks being left over like vacuums in the city, no one using them, do less to the surrounding city than the surrounding do to the parks. She mentions fear of crime in relation to some parks, although this is not her focus. Her idea is that the attractiveness of a city increases by locating activities close to the parks, e.g. places to hire and ride bikes, places to build ramshackle wigwams and huts out of old lumber, or places for music and shows. Jacobs argue that to attract people, other people must be seen. The presence of many eyes makes people feel comfortable and safe. Sharon Zukin on the other hand argue that problems rises for marginalised people when parks are made attractive to "normal" people in the way explained by Jacobs. In rearranging Bryant Park, New York, both through changing its layout and making it possible for people to buy buffet food, homeless people were consciously excluded. These unwanted categories would supposedly leave the park, as there were too many watching eyes from too many well-behaved people. The idea was to decrease the space for vagrants and criminals to occupy. Zukin calls this process "a model of pacification by cappuccino" (Zukin 1995:28). Safety or security problems were actually not solved, just moved away to make up a nicer environment for "normal" citizens.

The third approach presented here draws on feminist critique of safety and crime prevention work. Theory and practices from this approach have less influence over traditional crime prevention work, but exists on the margin and is picked up by some safer cities programmes. Instead of only focusing on crime reduction, it takes fear seriously and regards restriction of mobility as a problem in itself. The starting point here is not commercial, nor is it directly linked to decreasing crime rates, but rather the restrictions of everyday life experienced by foremost women. This critique and approach to safety has been raised in several countries in Europe. The feminist safety work has probably been most thoroughly implemented and theorised in Toronto.

In the Toronto project, developed in the 1980s, the first question was who is suffering most from fear and which power relations are active in creating that fear. This question led them to focus on homeless people (especially homeless women), disabled people, elderly, women and certain ethnic groups. They were focusing on inequalities based on gender, age, income, sexualities, etc., rather than protecting property or reducing deviant behaviour. The political base for the focus on violence against women were the assassination of fourteen female engineering students in Montreal 1989. The violence against women at home, work and in public was then receiving a high priority. Behind the policy development lies a theory based on equality ideals. Information to guards, polices and citizens in general about the subjective experience of fear and power relations, increased flexibility in local bus systems, changes in the physical design, better lights and building up networks, were common features of their safety work. The long-term project aimed at increasing everybody's knowledge and influence. For example, instead of using cameras as a mean of surveillance, they were used as a communication tool, with an actual person answering the call in the control office (Wekerle & Whitzman 1995, Whitzman 1995).

Due to a change in the local government in Toronto, Ontario, a new safety approach was adopted. Instead of continuing the initiated path the new government approved of the target hardening approach by educating polices in CPTED methods and dealing with youths hanging out on the streets. The women lobby groups were assigned less economic sources and less influence in the local democracy. This incident illuminates the political status of crime prevention and safety work.

The difference between the three approaches mentioned here could also be defined in the way they deal with "strangers". Is a stranger regarded as someone you must keep an eye on or is the stranger a possible helping hand? If the trust between the citizens (or the relation between governmental authorities and the citizens) is low then the degree of surveillance of course increases, which also have a high probability of inhibiting the public life. The anonymous trust, as Jacobs proposes starts from the opposite supposition. But Jacobs "trust" could also be perceived as naive in that sense it ignores peoples different "status" in the society. The feminist approach is not ignoring the unequal relation between people that can lead to different threatening situations, but the aim is not to raise the degree of control. Instead the aim is to work in the direction of increased trust amongst people, but it is based on knowledge about the power relations that are at work in their society. This is certainly an important topic in the contemporary world when politicians are spreading fear of terrorism and distrust. How then can women's fear lead to a different notion of safety and crime prevention?

Simultaneously with the development of crime prevention and safety discourses in urban planning, women's grassroots groups and feminist researchers have made women's fear of (male) violence visible. Statistical surveys of fear show similar results from different parts of the world: women fear crime more than men do. Women and elderly people are most afraid while young men are least afraid, but most exposed to violence. But most women fear rape, and that this is a crime most likely to be committed by a man and affect a woman. Feminists argue that women's fear of crime merits separate attention due to the fact that it differs in its extent, its nature, its relation to actual risks, its effects and its potential for structural analysis (Pain 1991). They have come to the conclusion that the extent of sexual violence is much more widespread than crime statistics show and that it is a false impression that women's fear seems overestimated on the basis of comparison with statistical surveys. The power enacted here is the spatial exclusion of women.

Feminist critique of previous crime and fear research revolves primarily around methods (Koskela 1999, Listerborn 2002a). Local surveys reveal much higher rates of victimisation than macro-surveys. Much harassment is never reported to the police and a legal definition of harassment does not necessarily correspond with the subjective experience. According to Kate Painter local surveys have much more credibility and can reveal issues lost in macro-scale surveys (Painter 1992, see also Koskela 1999). In addition, Gill Valentine points to the fact that the public tend to blame the victims who are regarded as having behaved in "dangerous" or "inappropriate" ways, by, for instance, going to certain areas at night (Valentine 1989). Many women develop mental maps according to their perception of fear and these strategies restrict their mobility (Koskela 1999, Andersson 2001). Thus women perceive space and experience the environment differently than men do. Women's fear tends to be less related to urbanity compared with men's fear. It is usually the empty places women fear, while men tend to fear busy night live areas more (Smith 1987, Warr 1985). It is also a fact that spaces women tend to fear: empty, dark, back streets, in-between areas, bus stops and parks is also where actual sexual assaults actually happens (Listerborn 2002b:200).

All these aspects mentioned here are important to bear in mind when researchers and policymakers discuss crime prevention programs and safer cities programs. For whom is the safety work intended? Who is included in and who is excluded from safety work?

Even though Gothenburg got its international name from the street riots during the EU-meetings in the summer of 2001, it is commonly regarded as a rather peaceful city. But due to its spatiality and scattered character many areas, both inner city and in the outskirts, becomes very empty and dark after the sun set. Large inner city parks increases a sense of fear as well.

As a result of the National Crime Prevention Program, from 1998, local crime prevention councils were established all around Sweden. The crime prevention council in Gothenburg is an agent for gathering experiences and spreading good examples, but also to initiate networks. This council is acting as a mediator between policy developers on governmental level and local councils in different parts of the city. Six people are fulltime-employed at the council. In addition many other agents are also involved in this work, like the university, different organisations and associations, housing companies, private companies, grassroots groups etc. The police usually play an important role in setting up local crime prevention work. Every political party from left to right agree on the importance of safety.

The council did not want to become an authority that could be blamed for increasing segregation and fear in the society. Instead they wanted to nuance the media images of places and problems. They also wanted to be a counterpart to the commercial powers and the commodification of fear, and they especially pointed out women's issues and the situation of the elderly and the youth. Even though the ambition of the council is well thought through, working with safety is a dubious task. Fear amongst the citizen can easily be increased while the aim is to decrease it. Many new organisations and businesses have also been set up around them and anything can now be sold with the word "safety". For example, Gothenburg launched the annual feast as the "safe party" by the entertainment organisations and local merchants in the name of crime reduction policies have also introduced Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

On the council's web-site different projects are listed ­ all aiming to reach a safe and human city. Some projects are directed to crime and fear, but there are also examples where the projects aim at making the urban public space more safe and secure through beautifying it. One of these projects is called the "Safe and Beautiful City" and is organised in collaboration between different public management departments in charge of parks, traffic, milieu, city-planning, building stock, tourism, congresses ­ but no one dealing professionally with criminality or social issues. The collaboration presents its vision as a future scenario:
Gothenburg is a city to be proud of. An attractive and inviting city to live in and visit. Here we may enjoy a welcoming and open atmosphere, with green parks and pleasant meeting-places. We feel safe where we live, when we associate, eat and breathe. It is clean and tidy in our surroundings and we do care about each other's and our common environment. Together we are making Gothenburg a safe and beautiful city.

Working to realise this future scenario, the "Safe and Beautiful Gothenburg" suggests quite pragmatic means to reach the goal. They express that they will "together make a genuine effort to bring about concrete results in making Gothenburg a better city to live in." But the future scenario presented here is what most people probably would describe as the image and character of Gothenburg today. So then, what is the problem that needs to be solved? Which are the "genuine efforts" that needs to be made, and which are the "concrete results" to be seen?

The following example illustrates a process is in an area that could be described as an ordinary renewal project. But it is also a complex and in some parts paradoxical story. The area has for several years has been planned to become a beautiful, ordered, tidy mixed inner-city neighbourhood out of a worn down industrial area experienced as unordered, untidy, and somewhat criminal.

As initially mentioned in this paper the 'right to the city' could be both a question of small-scale entrepreneurial and alternative cultural activities being able to take place in the city and a question of feeling safe enough to use the city. This first approach to the 'right to the city' is inspired by Henri Lefebvre who suggest that citizens need to be a part of the creation of a city ­ both in relation to the social and the built environment (Lefebvre 1982 [1968]). Lefebvre criticised the commodification of the urban built environment, especially the historical cores, and the commodification of urban culture. He asked why there are not any genuine places for citizens to meet without having to spend money, and how people may find time to meet and activate.

It is possible to find urban environments where some people actually do have these opportunities, but quite often it is with rather weak economic means. Cultural associations, sports associations, young people playing rock-music, small theatre groups, as well as small enterprises, need buildings and locales where the rent is low. Therefore these small-scale entrepreneurial and alternative cultural activities are found in built environments that are old, rundown, low valued and often in focus of renewal projects.

The example given here is about an area that used to be an industrial zone in Gothenburg and it is located around a street called Gustaf Dalénsgatan, not more than 2 kilometres from the heart of Gothenburg. Today the area is filled with a considerable mix of activities, such as travel agents, consultancies, restaurants, ethnic-group associations, gyms, clothing shops, flea markets and motorcar repair shops. For a long time, documented since the 1970s, there have been discussions about renewing the area, by tearing down its old industrial buildings and building new office and housing blocks. In between the time from when the industry left and the new buildings and uses are to come, a provisional state for those present small-scale activities are becoming more and more permanent. The situation could be described as a "permanent-provisional state". This situation manifests itself, among other ways, by tenants having had one-year leases for ten consecutive years. This haphazard provisional state of affairs brings about a situation with shortcomings regarding building maintenance, and where the enterprises and organisations do not dare to invest in thoughtful solutions for their immediate environment. In other words, present activities do not have the opportunity for planning ahead, rather utilising what they can for a non-defined period of time.

A conflict of interest rises when the Gustaf Dalén area is related to discussions about visions of Gothenburg as a whole, as these visions are manifested from different communal instances. On the one hand we see a place-bound local use from everyday life activities and on the other hand the trend of globalising urban development. One organisation that has been influencing these grand visions is called "Gothenburg & Co". Their aim is to make Gothenburg an attractive city for tourism, events, congresses and commerce, which is to say "Gothenburg in a global context". Gothenburg & Co is owned jointly by the City Council of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg Regional Authority, the West of Sweden Chamber of Industry & Commerce and several tourist and congress oriented bodies. On their home page, Gothenburg & Co's business concept is presented as being one "in international comparison, leading platform for co-operation in the development of destinations". The organisation's vision is that Gothenburg would become one of "Europe's most human and attractive city regions to live and work in and visit", and hopefully as a result of this "would be a first-hand choice among the cities of Europe". In the short amount of text accessible on the web site nothing is mentioned about for whom Gothenburg should be a first-hand choice. Gothenburg & Co is also the joint organiser of "Safe and Beautiful City".

In the forthcoming the story about the Gustaf Dalén area will be divided into three steps because there are questions of safety and security to discuss that are a bit paradoxical. Firstly, problems with safety and security are mentioned in interviews by people active in the area, but not by communal officials or landowners (Olshammar 2000, 2002). More precisely the problems are defined as burglaries into buildings and cars, car-thefts and vandalism of buildings and property. Two persons, both men, also said that they would not walk through this area by night as they find it a fearful environment because the risks of being attacked. Although there are problems of safety and security, and the building stock and the streets lack of maintenance, the inside-experience of the area is mostly positive. Through listening to this insider-perspective one get the picture that the environment could easily be more appropriate through quite small improvements.

Secondly, the actors who discuss a pretty radical renewal project for this area do not have this insider-perspective. These actors are mainly politicians and big landowners, and their visions are being managed by planning officials. Their central idea is to use centrally located land for more extensive exploitation, to build a mixed urban environment for offices and housing, to strengthen the streetscape and senses of physical space by architectural design, and to create "urbanity" ­ a quality so easily mentioned but so hard to create. The project (still not more than a program proposal last up-dated in March 2002, and now up to re-definition (again)) does not aim at solving any of the safety or security problems mentioned by the insiders. But the untidy environment and disturbing enterprises of today, like motorcar repair shops, are described as being unwanted and to be dealt with (torn down and moved away, respectively). Reducing the present structures of buildings and activities is being justified by defining them as no more than temporary.

But talking to those people who are running the small enterprises tells us that they really would like to stay here and quite many of them have been here for ten years or more. On the one hand there are the persons running enterprises with their aims and wishes and on the other hand there is the market of locales to hire and buildings to buy that is surely unpredictable. Those facts are not separated in the rhetoric of the renewal actors, and present activities in the area seem to be the ones to be blamed for the temporary character. Also, in the rhetoric of the renewal actors, enterprises are confused with their rundown physical locales. For instance, it is explained that the "Enterprises of today constitute a variety from rundown locales for associations and selling of cars in barracks to well-kept industrial buildings. The area as a whole appears to be untidy and neglected." So, enterprises are mixed with locales and industrial buildings. That is a problem mentioned often in interviews as well. If the built environment is untidy and buildings rundown, the enterprises and associations staying there are talked about as unordered and unpredictable.

Thirdly, grand visions presented for Gothenburg at large are in many ways too general to make it possible to predict its physical or social consequences. According to their un-precise character it is possible to mix beautifying issues with safety and security issues. Perhaps a bit distrustful to say, but still an interesting question to rise, is if those actors, the insiders, in the Gustaf Dalén area case are not heard according to their safety and security problems because they are not discernible, lucrative or politically important enough as a target group. In this case where there are problems to handle concerning security and safety, still no safety-project is initiated. Instead another renewal project is being planned that will create a beautiful, more "urban" environment and a more attractive place out of the present low-value and untidy built environment. Now, the paradoxical point is that what will develop in the Gustaf Dalén area is a certain type of tidy and beautiful urban area that looks like trendy signs of the "safe and beautiful cities". Although real safety and security problems are overlooked, the renewal project will supposedly be understood as a project in line with safety requirements of today. This third step has not yet been realised in the story of Gustaf Dalén area, but we suggest that this scenario is a highly probable one.

Beneath the overall contexts with which cities seek to market themselves in order to attract tourists, congresses and companies, there is a situation bound to everyday practise that does not always fall into line. The marketing of cities need other visions to sell than rundown industrial zones as milieus of small and not that very successful enterprises. But reducing those milieus also means to reduce meaningful opportunities for citizens to take an active role in the lives of cities, and it also means reducing opportunities for differences to exist in the urban social and physical landscape. According to Leonie Sandercock urban development in global cities today is highly characterised by struggles over space, which she explains is made up of two kinds of struggle: "one a struggle of life space against economic space, the other a struggle over belonging. Who belongs where, and with what citizenship rights, in the emerging global cities?" Belonging is a central safety issue. In relation to this question of how to legitimise local urban everyday life through times of change has to be connected (Friedmann 1999).

The second example has almost the opposite point of departure as the case of the Gustaf Dalén area. Fear in this example openly expressed and people living in the area are actively asking for safety measures. High degree of fear is often expressed in the outskirts of the city. A severely high degree of fear was reported in a local survey in a suburb to Gothenburg, called Bergsjön. As much as 86% of the women reported not feeling safe going out after dark (Malm 1999). Bergsjön is located eight kilometres north east of Gothenburg and it is a green suburb, with small forests between the housing estates. According to environmental interests and traffic security car traffic is not allowed in-between the houses, which adds to the degree of emptiness. The planning of the area make sense in respect to environmental concerns, but to live in a half urban, half-rural landscape, is not always unproblematic as this woman experiences:

It sometimes was with bated breath that I went to work early in the morning to open at the day nursery./.../The fear I sometimes felt, was so strong that my mouth went dry,...but it was due to the fact that there was no kiosk there then, it had shut down since no one dared to work there because the nearby buildings were empty. There was no life and it was ghastly, there were no lights in the windows (a woman living in Bergsjön quoted in Listerborn 1999).

She describes the emptiness and the darkness in the left over places when she had to go to work early in the mornings. The day care centre where she worked opened at five in the morning, because many women in the area work as cleaners and need to be at work before the white collar staff arrives. Other women in Bergsjön have also told about how they avoid for example evening classes due to fear of going out even though they would like to. The darkness in the area creates a fear that severely limits their mobility.

Experiences like this lied behind the initiative taken by a group of women to deal with the darkness in the area. Through the local women's folk high school they took the problems into their own hands, by coming together and making a petition for better lights to the local council. Since the Swedish language skill amongst many of these women was limited they would not have made their demands without the help from the teacher at the school. Their teacher, neither her being native Swedish, also wanted to show that societal influence is possible and how the local democratic system works. The local council were not unaware of the problem of lack of lights and maintenance of the existing lamps when this group of women handed over their petition. The local council greeted their work because it made it easier for them to claim support from higher authorities with this demand. Even though it took over two years before the improvements eventually was realised. Many of the women who took part in this safety task force continued afterwards to be involved in local work. To increase a feeling of safety, a general influence over the local environment is important as well as it includes a wider understanding of the concept of safety, i.e. namely trust.

A local grassroots perspective can give attention to issues that lead to initiate new forms of collaboration, which could be more constructive than previous organisations. New co-operations were initiated that made it possible to work more efficient with what people regard as a problem in their everyday life.

Safety issues are ambiguous. Freedom and safety could be each other's counterparts, but may also be intertwined and interdependent. If increased accessibility to different urban parts is the aim then a broad safety approach is needed which includes a democratic approach.

The case of Gustaf Dalén illustrates a situation where crime and lack of safety exists, but are neglected by the authorities at the same time as the regeneration plan includes changes commonly used to increase safety and implement crime prevention measures. The power enacted exists both between the authorities and the users, and between the people using the area. The top-down approach, though, does not solve the problems in the area, their aim is rather to reduce signs of disorder, maybe because they do not think it is worth the effort to implement measures in a "messy" area like that.

In the second example a group of women demand actions, and safety becomes a part of an issue of local influence and democracy. The restriction of their mobility was due to fear, which could be lessened by installing more lights. This measure does not solve the problem on a deeper level of course, but it led to more general influence over their everyday life. Safety measures in this sense are not only aiming at decreasing crime rates. The intention of safety work could also be to increase people´s mobility and feelings of trust.

It is sometimes argued that the discussion of fear may increase fear or make stereotypes about women as fearful and that the research on fear creates or reproduces fear and stigmatises women as powerless victims. Working with fear and safety is a balancing act, between empowering (women and others) and empowerment (by people in power positions). We believe fear amongst women could only be lessened by the empowering of women and not by increased protection. The local crime prevention work can thus take a different turn and create a counter power to hegemonic ideals.

With an apparently rational practice, such as crime prevention and planning, it is difficult to use diverse and complex understandings of fear and safety like these mentioned here. Of course theories grounded in criticism of the planning rationality will create dilemmas for planners by pointing out that they are in fact dealing with subjects, all of who have different experiences. Such incommensurability between the planning practice and the lived experience leads to the conclusion that planners (and crime prevention people) can not speak on behalf of every group in society and that people must be given the chance to produce their own places. This argument criticises the use of comprehensive plans, which do not take into account differences between different people and different places. When describing a specific relation of fear and space, it highlights which aspects are, or are not, involved. Implemented measures have an impact on social space, i.e. both on the physical and the social aspects of space.

The probability that planners and local agents can dominate the development of the growing city is restricted. The interests of the private market will continue to influence and rule. When private companies and investors are the main actors, or when local authorities are organising their work of planning in certain corporations, then the planning processes that are meant to be open for public control, become closed and impossible to influence in a democratic way. But if no other options are given the agenda of discussion the possibilities of a broader approach are less likely. People need to be given a chance to interfere with their local environment.

Fear is related to the people who supposedly occupy respective area and their anticipated criminal activities. Many researchers witness of the urban trend for the middleclass to escape confrontation with underprivileged groups by excluding them from the inner city (Smith 1999) or create their own suburban neighbourhoods (Davis 1990, Bauman 1999). This is an important critique on contemporary urban development. But, there is a risk that other power relations that are in work are made invisible, such as gender relations. Women's fear of sexual violence is based on gender power relations and need to be dealt with on several societal levels. To deal with this fear does not automatically mean that we create a more segregated city, on the contrary it could be a tool for more accessibility and urban public openness. It is a different starting point, an approach that begins with the experiences and the everyday need of the users in these areas.


Gotenburg & Co ­ (22/5 ­ 2001) and (22/5 ­ 2001)
Crime Prevention Council, Gothenburg ­ (13/12 ­ 2002)


To deal with this fear does not automatically mean that we create a more segregated city, on the contrary it could be a tool for more accessibility and urban public openness.