Chicago and Philadelphia, both essential American cities, have been notably downtrodden in the past due to a high murder rate and poverty. But civic leaders and urban planners within both of these cities sought a solution to these issues, and wanted to reassure its citizens that they were not forgotten. In the Windy City, for instance, the largest urban Superfund in the U.S. to date has resulted in La Villita Park, a 21-acre public space outfitted with a playground, ball fields, skate park and community gardens for nearby residents, which was led by Kim Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. Next to no crime happens on these grounds.

For Philadelphia, which has the highest rate of poverty for the ten most-populated cities in the country, the focus was on investing in the most dilapidated areas. For years, Hunting Park was an area blighted by prostitution and drug dealing, until its revitalization in 2009. Since then, the crime rate has gone down by 89 percent.

And while focusing on public spaces cannot be solely attributed to these successes, it can be said that when citizens feel ownership of a space, crime is less likely to happen.

Read more about other developments in these areas in The New York Times.

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