Careful, detailed observation is one of the most valuable skills we've developed as landscape architects. We come to each project with trained fresh eyes with which to uncover the details that have an impact on people. We draw attention to the important landscape features which regular users no longer see because they've gotten used to them.

At Clinton Hill Coops, we see fences everywhere. Low chain fences at the edge of the lawns, 4-foot and 5-foot fences along the sidewalks, and 7-foot fences with spiky tops at the service entries. This much fencing doesn't lead to a sense of safety. It has the opposite effect, causing people to feel uneasy and suspicious.

The bright lighting and centralized security booths lead to feeling watched and unwelcome. We heard from residents that the fences and security booths were installed at a time when the neighborhood felt much less safe than it does today.  

The campus renovation needs to include just enough security to help people feel safe. We have a lighting designer on the project team who will help us create soft lighting that will allow people to see one another's faces at night. We will be looking at the height of fences around the neighborhood for examples. Does anyone have ideas about where we should look?