Beware the streets of Wellington!

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Wellington backstreets. Image credit: Patrik Nygren.

Report by NewsroomPlus.com – Contributed by Olexander Barnes

Wellington is the city where the vampire film “What we do in the Shadows” takes place, but there are more dangers on our streets than just vampires.

Living Streets Aotearoa and the Urban Design Forum are two groups that are keenly aware of potential dangers that plague our city and have been using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) to identify and find solutions for them.

As a way of shining some light on their work and to raise awareness of the darker side of Wellington, they organised a walk round some of the pathways and streets, just a hairs breath away from the glitz and glamour of Courtenay Place where Taika Waititi and his vampire compatriots stalk.

So on a calm winter Wednesday evening, last night, a well-sized group assembled.

Comprised of various members of the community including a policeman (in uniform), council workers, architects, students and members of Walkwise Wellington.

The walk began at the bottom of Manners and Burke street winding its way up Allenby Terrace steps, past the little known Terrace Park, up on to Percival street, then on to The Terrace, down Burke street steps and down a dimly lit path complete with flickering light and thick bushes, that links MacDonald’s Crescent to Burke street.

This was all a stark reminder that many Wellington backstreets are perfectly suited to less savory creatures of the night. The walk made its way back down Burke Street before finishing back at the same corner where it had started.

Credit: Patrik Nygren

At various times during the route there were stops to point out many of the dangers that fill Wellingtons’ paths and walkways. Some them were very subtle in nature.

A recessed gate on a shadowy part of Allenby Terrace was pointed out as a potential ambush point. Trees blocking overhead streetlights were constantly pointed out as they reduce lighting. The subtlest hazard was some horizontal beams on a fence that could be used as a ladder for someone to climb over and on to a car park where vehicles have been stolen. These were just some of the lurking dangers identified throughout the walk.

The walk provided a very effective illumination of the potential dangers that lurk on Wellington’s streets. Though help is at hand by using CPTED, both the Urban Design Forum and Living Streets Aotearoa along with the Wellington City Council are hoping to provide solutions to many of the dangers.

Actions that can be taken include upgrading streetlights to brighter more energy efficient LED light bulbs, which would also be more directional and better at illuminating the necessary areas. Plans are being made to add more overhead lighting to certain paths, where currently the shadows are too deep and plentiful.

There was discussion in making sure that paths with trees growing beside were maintained to stop them growing too thick, providing hiding spots and making sure that they did not block streetlights.

While we must always remain vigilant while travelling around our city and the many dangers exist, it is good to know that some of these dangers are being recognised and dealt with.

Maybe the shadows that haunt this city will become things of legend!

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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