Research Crime 2018

Children growing up in poor versus affluent neighborhoods are more likely to spend time in prison, develop health problems and die at an early age. The question of how neighborhood conditions influence our behavior and health has attracted the attention of public health officials and scholars for generations. Online tools are now providing new opportunities to measure neighborhood features and may provide a cost effective way to advance our understanding of neighborhood effects on child health.

The community and its contest.
Alexandra, informally abbreviated to Alex, is a township in the Gauteng province of South Africa. It forms part of the city of Johannesburg and is located near the upper-class suburb of Sandton (Southern Africa’s richest mile). In contrast to Sandton, Alexandra is one of the poorest urban areas in the country. In addition to its original, reasonably well-built houses, it also has a large number (estimated at more than 20,000) of informal dwellings or "shacks". Alexandra was established in 1912, and has a rich political history within South Africa.

Aims and focus of the project.
With so many advances in technology new tools of assessment have become available for free to influence our research and design process. The aim of the project is to use a virtual systematic social observation (SSO) study to assess / test whether Google Street View could be used to reliably capture a neighbourhood’s conditions. From these mappings / assessments we will strategize and brainstorm some design solutions.


Our systematic social observation (SSO) through Google Street View and Survey data showed the following.


  • Creates a sense of unsafe gatherings
  • Drug spots
  • Un kept and unsanitary causing a negative environment



  • Creates a sense of community
  • Creates a purpose
  • Integrates the community in a positive way



  • Creates a sense of community
  • Source of research and information
  • Creates a purpose


Our assessments helped us strategize and brainstorm some design solutions.

As STREET SYSTEMS AND NETWORKING (Quality of life) implying quality of infrastructure and streets has a negative impact on the quality of life in Alexandra was an issue identified, design proposed the OPPORTUNITY for:

  • Fixing of broken street lights
  • Community waste clean up
  • Have a dedicated wall for legal graffiti


As LACK OF RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES implying No focus on the youth and what they do in their free time was an issue identified, design proposed the OPPORTUNITY for:

  • All purpose recreational park – for all ages
  • Schools getting more involved in the community
  • Target the Youth with communal activities


As SECURITY MEASURES implying that There is a need for security measures to be put in place, due to the high crime rates in the area and that Residents of Alexandra do not feel safe was issues identified, design proposed the OPPORTUNITY for:

  • Implementing new street lights
  • Alcohol free zone around schools and other youthful areas
  • Informative posters
  • Close open spaces to prevent criminals from escaping