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Can we help Block-by-Block, Geoffrey Canada-style?

"Canada founded the Harlem Children's Zone in the nineties, leading a bold social experiment using education to break the cycle of poverty for poor children in the United States. He literally turned around Central Harlem, block by block, creating safe zones through schools and community centers for kids to learn and play."

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Written by DeletedUser

I am inspired by this idea of safe-havens or hubs that has been brought up!  This idea reminded me of the book "Whatever It Takes" about the Promise Academy and Harlem Children's Zone.

In developing the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoffrey Canada built trust and cultivated safety for children and families in Harlem by creating community centers (maybe analogs to safe-hubs?) around the neighborhood.  But he started with one.  When that one became known and trusted, he moved to the next block and started another!

This method of developing a network of hubs might make the emerging safety map more apparent by word of mouth and experience.

In the case of Canada's project, these centers also provided services ranging from education, to family services, to financial support.  Perhaps the safe-hubs could function as  something similar?


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Photo of Luisa Fernanda

You bring up an excellent point, during the research phase talking to women and girls in low- income urban communities and experts working in social development I have learned that creating safe spaces is paramount to help vulnerable groups feel safer, have a space to start conversations and start a path for empowerment. Are there any safe spaces around your neighborhood and/or city you have access to? I am super interested to learn more about your views on observing safe spaces around your community. If there aren't any why do you think that is?

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Hi Liusa!
First, an apology for my delay! I am moving careers and location, and internet and time have been spotty. :/

I lived in NYC for 7 years, and traveled through some unsafe areas everyday, including Columbia Medical School at late hours of night. Although there were no sanctioned 'safe places' that I was aware of, there were certainly many security guards. If you were on Columbia property, you could consider yourself relatively safe. I think one reason that security was so high was that the expectation for Columbia to be a safe place for students and employees is also quite high. In addition, the impact of singular crimes on their reputation could be large for such an institution.

In my mind, that ties into another post of mine about economically-driven solutions: crime prevention at Columbia is morally right, but also financially mandatory.