1. commit to realizing the universaLLY DESIRED GOAL of CITYWIDE SAFETY.
''Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood."
- Daniel Burnham
Chicago's great city planner had the right idea. If he could see Chicago today, the man who gave Chicago its great boulevards and restful parks, including its cherished 18-mile public lakefront, would observe that the goal of violence reduction has no magic to stir men's blood. He would dismiss it out of hand as a relic of a bygone industrial age - his own early 20th century Chicago - that survives today only because Chicago has yet to figure out how to use its digital-age anti-violence resource - the media that comprise Chicago's public communication system - in ways that will enable Chicago to make itself safe.
In Burnham's time, Chicago's leaders placed the burden of maintaining public safety entirely on the shoulders of the city's police department. Today, the demoralized and divided state of Chicago's hugely overburdened police force is but one of many instances of the harm that a holdover industrial-age policy can do in a digital age.
Undeniably, Chicago's best efforts to reduce violence over the past six decades have failed, disastrously, even to reduce violence. First time in Chicago's history, violence has spread to every area of the city. In the wake of tumultuous recent events - COVID, the murder of George Floyd and the polarization of political discourse nationwide - many Chicagoans, especially the city's police, fear a breakdown of civil order citywide.
But reduction continues . But Chicagoans don't yearn for less violence, they yearn for safety itself: for safe neighborhoods, safe schools, and a city where they can go to any neighborhood in the city without fearing for their lives.
Granted, Chicagoans have despaired of safety. Over the years the city's failure to reduce violence coupled with unkept election-time campaign promises of safety, has led Chicagoans to accept wartime levels of violence as hard, natural facts of city life, like brutal Chicago winters. the task of enabling Chicago citizens and leaders to commit to the goal of citywide safety may seem unrealistic or unfeasible.
Here we suggest that this goal is precisely what Chicagoans yearn for and will actively support when they have the opportunity and the means to do so. They know that violence reduction has failed disastrously and that the city in 2022 is struggling to emerge from a citywide breakdown of law and order in 2021 resulting from COVID and the murder of George Floyd. But looking to their leaders, long-time residents see only a continuation of the "same old, same old" violence reduction tactics that have brought Chicago to where it is today.
But this mindset can and will change, almost overnight, when Chicago makes effective use of the media - especially network TV - through which Chicagoans and their leaders communicate with each other in a digital age.
And they do so with an inspiring and universally desired goal of citywide safety in mind.
of safety for all residents always in mind. In a digital age, residents of safe cities learn to think as a city, as a large community of connected citizens who collectively are responsible for their city's safety. They explore the concept of safety itself: they ask whether safety is the mere absence or escape from violence or whether safety is the presence and acceptance of a commitment not just to the safety of self and family but to the safety of one's neighborhood and city itself. Safe cities take seriously the idea idea that no resident is safe until all residents are safe.
THE CHALLENGE FOR DIGITAL-AGE COMMUNITIES OF ANY SIZE IS TO LEARN TO THINK AND ACT AS FUNCTIONING COMMUNITIES, IN WHICH ALL MEMBERS, CITIZENS AND LEADERS ALIKE, HAVE AN INFORMED VOICE IN THE GOVERNMENTAL DECISIONS THAT IMPACT THEIR LIVES AND THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.