IT STARTED — as so much of my research has — with a hunch. For many years, I have been completely overwhelmed by the high walls that South African suburbanites have created around their dwellings. They have always struck me as confronting, offensive, and aesthetically unappealing.But, more than this, I couldn’t shake the feeling that these walls, which were supposedly created to make people safer, were actually having the opposite effect. As a criminologist by training, I’ve worked with police officers and security guards over many years.So, I reached out to a member of the Durban Metro Police, Chris Overall. That was the start of a journey that has taken us through very different suburbs and very different ways of thinking about security — and that will, later this year, see the Durban chapter of Alliance Française literally break down its walls.In the late apartheid period, South African suburbs began to change considerably in both their appearance and design.This was the result o...

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