The Urban Land Institute's Indiana District Council will host an event Wednesday on how city planning and design can help prevent crime. The presentation by Lexington, Kentucky Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen is part of Indianapolis' Plan 2020 effort.

October 7, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — If asked to name a profession that fights crime, most people would think of police officers or judges – not designers and city planners. Yet a city's design, from sidewalk width to alternative transportation routes – can prevent the crime citizens so desperately want to avoid. On Oct. 8 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at The Hall, Dr. Derek Paulsen, Commissioner of Planning for the City of Lexington, KY, will present “Preventing Crime through Urban Design.”

While many assume the best way of eliminating crime is through police enforcement, one of the greatest impacts on neighborhood crime levels is actually through environmental design. Research has shown, however, that few city planners, architects, designers and developers are aware of the potential to develop plans considerate of sustaining both the safety of the environment and the public.

Dr. Paulsen, a nationally-recognized expert on building safe communities and neighborhoods, hopes to bridge this knowledge gap through a discussion on the importance of considering crime in creating sustainable communities and the impacts of planning decisions on neighborhood crime.

The concept is known as Secured by Design – the creation of well-designed places where people feel safe and secure; where crime and disorder, or the fear of crime, doesn't undermine quality of life or community cohesion. The initiative has been in existence in the UK for over 20 years and has shown to have a dramatic impact on reducing city crime through good design principles.

While we are not always aware of it, we react to our environment, whether it is in nature or in a neighborhood or shopping area. We innately evaluate if we are in a place that feels safe, unsafe or neutral; this reaction determines how comfortable we are in any particular place and whether or not we will want to return. Can't wait until the presentation? Plan 2020 would still like to know what makes you feel safe in your community. Can't make the presentation? Anyone can go to Plan 2020's MindMixer page,, to answer questions about how the built environment impacts their perception of safety.

At the presentation participants will learn:

• How the built environment influences public safety.

• What developers, designers and building owners can do to improve the built environment.

• What strategies individuals can use in their home, business or neighborhood to help create safe places that deter crime.

The presentation is hosted by Plan 2020 and the Urban Land Institute, Indiana District Council.

About Plan 2020

Plan 2020, the Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis, defines a new approach to planning in Indianapolis. Plan 2020 meshes community vision, values and strategy with an unprecedented, coordinated update to core city government plans. The plan is a collaboration between the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Department of Metropolitan Development and community leaders to make Indianapolis a better place to live, work and visit.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 32,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

About the speaker

Dr. Derek Paulsen is the Commissioner of Planning for the City of Lexington, Kentucky where he oversees the planning, inspection, engineering, code enforcement, and historic preservation functions of the City. Prior to becoming Commissioner, Paulsen was an associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for Crime and the Built Environment at Eastern Kentucky University. He is regarded as a national expert on building safe communities and neighborhoods, and is highly active in research on spatial aspects of crime and the impact of urban planning and development on crime patterns. Dr. Paulsen is the lead author of two books on crime mapping as well as numerous articles dealing with crime mapping and crime analysis issues that have appeared in such journals as Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling and International Journal of Police Science and Management.

Source: Urban Land Institute, Indiana District Council

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