Bringing all the evidence I’ve set forth in the pages prior to this into light together illustrates my argument on how purposeful street murals and art within downtown Atlanta discourages illegal activity and vandalism within the city. Evaluating concepts of design, space, community, and how art influences all of these factors creates if at the very least an obvious connection between the condition and built environment of a district within Atlanta and how prominent it is centered around community and art culture. The disorderly neighborhoods of West Atlanta exhibit worrying standards of crime, both petty and serious, due to effects outlined within the Broken Window Theory stemming from vandalism, while orderly Atlanta neighborhoods display attractive features like art installations which establish positivity within the surrounding community.
Outlining the core causes and effects of crime points us back towards an explanation of the Broken Window Theory; an idea the details how both physical and social disruptions give way to an increased probability for crime within a given built environment. Smaller crimes beget more serious crimes, and ultimately any escalation of noticeable proportions (murder, rape, kidnapping) is due to accumulation of “broken windows” in an area. Broken windows do not literally refer to a specific type of vandalism, but rather is a name or title given to the people or objects who create disorder. Graffiti, derelict housing, abandoned cars, pan handlers, homeless, and drunks or addicts are important examples of features which can degrade an areas standard of living. Before street art can have a significant affect on an area, a metric of socioeconomic must be met to address the broken windows of a community; street art’s role from here is to not only occupy possible wall space from tag artists, but also to establish positivity within the area it affects.
Comparing various neighborhoods of Atlanta, the general levels of satisfaction in these spaces, and the art pieces associated with them to that of west end districts reveals the determining factors that define a stressful or unattractive built environment. Although disorderly conduct (broken windows) are the easiest examinable feature of these urban spaces, there is a serious argument on the implications of how socioeconomics create unfavorable situations for the less fortunate, forcing them to commit petty crimes in order to continue their own survival. Regardless of this consensus to the opposition, there is irrefutable merit in the conclusions I’ve drawn through comparing neighborhood based government sanctioned street art, community crime rates of an area, and their relationship with vandalism as well as other petty crimes within the built environments of Atlanta. The differences in communities can be outlined by the appearances of either graffiti or street murals in these spaces and why they were created in the first place.
Graffiti, typical of lower income communities, is more common in political messaging demanding a voice for those who are regularly silenced in comparison to the simplified goals of positive decoration which are displayed in everyday street murals.