I ran across this teaser at the New Urban News:
British anti-urbanism study debunked
A British study claiming that new urban design encourages crime has fallen victim to its own false premises. In October, Randal O'Toole, organizer of a campaign against smart growth and New Urbanism in the US, circulated a study by a police officer in Bedfordshire, England, alleging that new urban design techniques make communities more vulnerable to crimes such as burglary and car theft. Closer inspection reveals, however, that the English study was not based on new urban communities at all, but on developments containing design features that new urbanists commonly reject.
As I had posted on this particular British study myself, I was curious at the reverberations.
Subsequent to my own posts, I had run across an article by dogmatic anti-urban Randall O'Toole --- New Urbanism Promotes Crime -- at Reason Public Policy Institute. So today, after seeing the New Urban News page I went back to check to see if any of the proponents of this bizarre view of New Urbanism had taken cognizance of the criticisms. Alas, O'Toole's piece is still up. I was surprised, disappointed. O'Toole's post, based as it is on a flawed British study, should have been taken down quite a while ago.
It seems to me O'Toole and the British author of the underlying study should respond; the competency of their work is called into question.
(I mean there is no question in my mind. The underlying study is a mess. And O'Toole is both smart- and well-informed enough --- I met him in a taxi going from the old Denver airport to Boulder years ago --- to know better that to accept that British study as factually accurate in its depiction of New Urbanism. I also wrote to the British policeman back in November to alert him, as I thought fair, of my own crit of his "study" -- but the only response was silence, which is sometimes a tactically-wise response for a propagandist. The work is not what one hope for from a British policeman. I am trying to be polite. )
So far as I can see, the issue of New Urbanism being "crimogenic" is actually "bunkogenic."
UPDATE: I've had some useful email exchanges with some of the personally very pleasant RPPI folks and I start to see some of the problem: relativism.
My criticism (and others' better informed than I) of the British police study and of O'Toole for using it is that it is in error -- errors of fact -- in its depiction of New Urbanism and it then bases its opinion on such false premises.
The sense I get is that RPPI is a big tent and makes room for lots of opinions and that O'Toole is simply stating his opinion as in (and I making up this quote to exagerate) "Oh well that is simply Randall's opinion. And of course as Derrida says politics and life is simply a matter of where one stands, how one is privileged. There are no real facts and O'Toole's opinion --- even if I personally thnk it's based on ignorance and cant -- is still a very valid opinion and we wouldn't dare take it down for fear of being accused of censorship." (That's my opinion, btw.)
Now that sentence above was NOT explicitly stated but it's the sense I got: Facts don't matter; opinions do. Oh! for conservatives who stand for traditional & fixed certainties such as accuracy counts.