Codman Square Signs

Curator: Scott Stowell
date: October 15, 2012
Categories: Information Design
Tags: atlantic monthly, Boston, broken windows, care, Codman Square, community, Design for People, George L. Kelling, James Q. Wilson, Kaid Benfield, Natural Resources Defense Council

Back in 1982, George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson wrote an article called “Broken Windows.” As social scientists, they argued that when things look worse, they get worse. So if somebody breaks a window, more people break windows. If somebody litters, more people let garbage pile up. And the more things go wrong, the more dangerous and unsafe a place can be. But what if this worked the other way? 

I've always said that bad design is the same as bad anything—it’s when it’s clear that nobody cared. So does evidence of caring make more people care? Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council thinks so. When he visited the Codman Square neighborhood of Boston, he saw signs of things getting better. And they make me believe things are getting better, too.

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