The Broken Window Theory In Design & Product Development
Tobias van Schneider

I’ll start by echoing other commenters’ assertions that the Broken Windows policy’s effects have been debunked.

To me, this piece supports the idea that technology is — at present — a sector whose people don’t understand systemic racism, its effects, and its implementation. I can’t imagine the author would have written this with an academically rigorous understanding of Broken Windows.

It’s a great idea to clean up the small, messy, seemingly unimportant code, because it really clarifies the design and allows bigger refactorings to reveal themselves. But to compare that practices to one of the cornerstone policies of systemic racism in policing is a misstep, and one that demonstrates an ignorance of larger societal issues.

As someone working in civic tech, this concerns me. Technology has the power to transform lives, but it seems as if most of the people with access to it don’t understand or have the incentive to address systemic issues like these. I’m optimistic that the more we democratize technological literacy, the more the power differential will equalize.

I encourage the author to do more research on Broken Windows from a critical academic perspective.

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