In 2014, the organizers of Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem (BCe2) designed a project to revive a vital but polluted tributary to the St. Joseph River through a growing collaboration of dozens of institutions, community groups, schools, and universities in the revitalizing city of South Bend, Indiana. In 2020, BCe2 continues to work in a post-industrial community still facing many challenges from lack of mobility to declining infrastructure and high crime rates. This article focuses on this ecological coalition’s first year of full-scale programs in 2016, when its organizers often expressed BCe2’s neighborhood development interests through the framework of safety concerns. In an effort to develop a long-neglected waterway, the organization’s safety orientations presented an underlying framework of security agendas emerging from perceptions of South Bend’s Southeast neighborhood as an embattled urban community. BCe2 planners often conceptually militarized its operations in a security ecology, a pervasive order of surveillance practices and perceptions that attempted to neutralize longstanding community defense strategies by engineering development interventions.

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