Abstract - Rhythm and the Built Environment

Cities are environments where many people live together and at the same time can move anonymously. Today in many cities the sense of safety between its inhabitants is of concern. This paper integrates results of three case studies in Porto (PT), The Hague (NL) and Addis Ababa (ET). Each case study had a different perspective yet all were concerned with interventions in the urban space for creating better social climates.

The first case study in Porto (PT) stresses the fact that people in a neighborhood contribute to this neighborhood and by doing so affect the social climate. The second case study, Addis Ababa, identifies that based on the way the built environment is arranged, people's actions and activities in a neighborhood constitute different rhythms. Th other case study analyses trust between residents in a neighborhood in The Hague and finds that the absence of shared rhythms is largely responsible for the sense of un-safety of its residents.

As result of the analyses the integration of different rhythms in urban context is highlighted. By revisiting the work of sociologist Henri Lefebvre, the outcomes of the case studies are then contextualized from a rhythm perspective. The paper concludes with suggestions for the creation and elaboration of ‘shared rhythms’ as a fundamental notion that can underlie the sense of safety between citizens in urban context.