Broken Window Theory is the idea that your environment tells you to act. That is to say, if you live in a community with run down dilapidated buildings, with broken windows, graffiti, and trash on the streets it affects your ideas, feelings, and ultimately your behavior. In the 1980’s New York City was at the height of one the worst crime epidemics in its history. In particular perhaps one of the worst places to be, was on the New York Subway. As a result, in the mid 80’s the New York Transit Authority hired George Kelling as a consultant to help with the problem. He urged them to go about combating crime in a unique manner. Clean up the subway, literally. Get rid of the trash and the graffiti. Then they began going after fare beating, people who jumped the turnstile to sneak onto the Subway without paying. Two incredibly small, non-essential, seemingly inconsequential items when you’re talking about fighting an epidemic of crime. But guess what happened. The environment of the Subway changed and with it so did the criminal behavior on the Subway.
We all know that the environment we place people in matters. And when we’re dealing with heaven and hell and not simply selling more lattes, cars, clothes, or fast food it matters all the more. Below are four simple criteria to consider when building your environments:
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