January 12, 2018
Violence is a widespread problem that affects the physical, mental, and social health of individuals and communities. Violence comes with an immense economic cost to its victims and society at large. Although violence interventions have traditionally targeted individuals, changes to the built environment in places where violence occurs show promise as practical, sustainable, and high-impact preventive measures. This review examines studies that use quasi-experimental or experimental designs to compare violence outcomes for treatment and control groups before and after a change is implemented in the built environment. The most consistent evidence exists in the realm of housing and blight remediation of buildings and land. Some evidence suggests that reducing alcohol availability, improving street connectivity, and providing green housing environments can reduce violent crimes. Finally, studies suggest that neither transit changes nor school openings affect community violence.