Understanding the Impact of 9-11 On Our Cities

One year after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, planning and development issues are at the forefront of the national debate. This special section presents the most-read news articles about 9-11 from our news archives. Also included are nine thought-provoking PLANetizen Op-Eds. Together, these writings address the major issues that have emerged in the last year and analyze the impact of 9-11 on our cities.

Updated: 01:00 pm PDT, Sep 19, 2002

PLANetizen Op-Eds

The Death Of An Icon
The World Trade Center towers were an icon of the most powerful city in the world. Was it a mistake to build these grand towers? No. Architecture captures the strength and power of the American idea.
     Sep 13, 2001

The End Of Tall Buildings
We are convinced that the age of skyscrapers is at an end. It must now be considered an experimental building typology that has failed. We predict that no new megatowers will be built, and existing ones are destined to be dismantled.
     Sep 17, 2001

New Urbanist Proposals For Rebuilding The World Trade Center
Members of an Internet-based discussion group promoting New Urbanism offer several new urbanist proposals for redeveloping the site of the World Trade Center.
      Sep 24, 2001

Fortifying America: Planning for Fear
As professional planners we have to take a new ethical stand. Gated and walled residential complexes will be even more popular among residential real estate developers. We have to ask, what kind of security will protect all of us and what kind will just divide some of us?
      Oct 02, 2001

Low Densities Are No Answer To The Threat Of Terrorism
The sprawling 1950's postwar urban pattern, once believed to provide a measure of security in the atomic age, has made us extremely vulnerable in an age of international terrorism.
      Oct 23, 2001

The Future Of Cities: The Absurdity of Modernism
The godfather of New Urbanism offers his perspective on the future of cities: The most beautiful cities which survive in the world today have all been conceived with buildings of between two and five floors -- the era of the utilitarian skyscraper is at an end.
      Nov 05, 2001

Let Cities Be Cities
Scattered development does not offer more security. Decentralizing the population and businesses of our great cities would be a long and expensive proposition, and one likely to fail.
      Nov 26, 2001

The End Of The Modern World
The Twentieth Century ushered in a historic era of optimism for the rational "modern" future. History may record that September 11 ended the modernist dream for cities. But already new visions are emerging for a wiser, more hopeful future.
      Jan 09, 2002

A Missed Learning Opportunity
The architectural implications of the September 11, 2001 tragedy; Have planners and architects overlooked the moral lesson to practice humane urban design?
      Sep 16, 2002

News Archive

Why The World Trade Center Towers Collapsed
A professor of Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley presents his analysis of why the World Trade Center towers collapsed after being hit by jetliners. This article also provides an overview of the history and structural system of the towers.
      Sep 13, 2001 - Salon

The Impact Of Terrorism On Urban Form
What are the structural and arhictectural implications of the World Trade Center attack on the future of the world's cities?
      Sep 17, 2001 - Guardian Unlimited, UK

Should WTC Towers Be Rebuilt? -- Architects' Opinions
Philip Johnson, Robert A.M. Stern, Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier and others express their thoughts on whether the World Trade Center towers should be rebuilt.
      Sep 18, 2001 - The New York Times

Artists Design Memorial To Fill Gap In New York's Skyline
Artists Paul Myoda and Julian LaVerdiere have conceived a design for a memorial to fill the void left in New York's skyline.
      Sep 19, 2001 - The New York Times

Towers Were A Target And Should Not Be Rebuilt
The author who wrote a history of the World Trade Center says the towers should not be rebuilt.
      Sep 19, 2001 - CNN

Sprawl Is One Way To Fight Terrorism
In the age of terrorism, sprawl is a natural alternative to dense urban targets.
      Sep 24, 2001 - Wall St. Journal

WTC Towers: Mapping Ground Zero
Global Positioning technology helps create a three-dimensional picture of the devastation at the site of the World Trade Center attacks.
      Sep 25, 2001 - The New York Times

Building Codes Helped Save Lives At WTC
The World Trade Center buildings -- designed to comply with building codes -- included architectural and structural elements that enabled occupants to evacuate.
      Sep 26, 2001 - Washington Post

World Trade Center Towers: A Structural Autopsy
From the wreckage of the World Trade Center emerge new details of the cause of the towers' collapse.
      Oct 08, 2001 - Wired

Terror-proofing Skyscrapers: Experts Brainstorm
Architects and engineers meet in Chicago at a conference to discuss how skyscrapers can be protected from terrorism.
      Oct 19, 2001 - Chicago Tribune

Cities Must Spread Out
Joel Kotkin argues that in this post-terrorism era, cities must change if they are to survive.
      Oct 25, 2001 - Wall St. Journal

Engineers Uncover New Details Of WTC Collapse
Structural engineers debate over how the World Trade Center towers collapsed.
      Nov 13, 2001 - The New York Times

Should Patriotism Be Measured In Miles Per Gallon?
Is driving a gas-guzzling SUV unpatriotic? Many Americans don't believe there is a relationship between global politics and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
      Nov 30, 2001 - The New York Times

Urban Sprawl Vs. Homeland Security
Urban sprawl almost certainly poses a far greater threat to your health than bioterrorism.
      Jan 09, 2002 - Michigan Land Use Institute

Why Bin Laden Chose WTC
Laurie Kerr suggests that Osama Bin Laden may have had a more personal and architectural reason for attacking the World Trade Center towers.
      Jan 16, 2002 - Slate

Seven Principles For Rebuilding Downtown
A coalition of architecture, planning, and design organizations has prepared a report describing seven principles for rebuilding Lower Manhattan.
      Jan 21, 2002 - New York New Visions

A Medieval Model: The Future Of Urban Planning?
Steven Johnson discusses the challenges urban planners face in creating the cities of the future that offer protection from terrorism.
      Feb 04, 2002 - Wired

Is Smart Growth An Anti-Terrorism Tool?
Speakers at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference say smart growth can improve security.
      Feb 28, 2002 - San Diego Union-Tribune

National Building Codes May Change After 9-11 Attacks
The collapse of the World Trade Center towers may bring about changes in the national building standards and codes.
      Mar 07, 2001 - Washington Post

Architects Developing Security Measures For New Buildings
Designers of new buildings are employing a variety of security measures to make structures more resistent to terrorist attacks.
      Mar 13, 2002 - The New York Times

The End Of The Master Builder?
The age of the "master builder" has been replaced with a new "planning democracy."
      Apr 15, 2002 - The New York Times

Urban Design And Security Plan
A draft of the much-anticipated Urban Design and Security plan outlines planning techniques to protect national landmarks and government buildings from terror.
      Jul 08, 2002 - Boston Globe

In Pictures: Ground Zero Plans
The six plans for the World Trade Center site are published including models, site plans, skyline elevations, animations.
      Jul 17, 2002 - Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

Keeping Businesses In Downtown
Incentive won't keep businesses in downtown. Quality of life and transportation are more important.
      Jul 26, 2002 - The New York Times

Maya Lin Discusses Ground Zero
Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Memorial, reluctantly offer her thoughts about Ground Zero.
      Jul 29, 2002 - The New Yorker

Anti-terror Urban Design
Architects and planners are figuring out how to design terror-reistant structures without creating a fortress mentality.
      Jul 30, 2002 - Boston Globe

NYC To Change Codes For Skyscrapers
New York City's sweeping plan to change building codes for high-rises is an indication of how the Sept 11th attacks could transform the nation's skyscrapers.
      Aug 06, 2002 - The New York Times

Security Concerns Push Firms To Suburbs
This is the last in a series of occasional articles on security, buildings, and cities after 9/11 by Boston Globe urban planning writer Anthony Flint.
      Aug 19, 2002 - Boston Globe

A Daring Vision For New York
In the last three decades New York has seen few major public planning projects. To maintain its position as a global city, New York needs to "think big.".
      Sep 05, 2002 - The New York Times

A Real Organic Solution For Ground Zero
The efforts rebuild the site of the World Trade Center are a 'fiasco' but the area is starting to heal itself without the benefit of planning strategies.
      Sep 07, 2002 - Guardian Unlimited, UK

The 'Epic Story' Of The Twin Towers
A fascinating biography of the ambitious Twin Towers and how the innovations that made the towers possible played a role in their fall. (All 7 chapters available online.)
      Sep 09, 2002 - The New York Times

Review Of Books About Ground Zero
The World Trade Centers will be more revered in death, than in life. Urban design writer John King reviews three books about these icons.
      Sep 09, 2002 - San Francisco Chronicle

Team Of All-Star Architects Reimagines New York
Richard Meier, Steven Holl, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey, Guy Nordenson, Maya Lin, and others, dissatisfied with the official planning process to rebuild the site of the World Trade Center, form a design team to reimagine Lower Manhattan.
      Sep 09, 2002 - The New York Times

The 'Epic Story' Of The Twin Towers
A fascinating biography of the ambitious Twin Towers and how the innovations that made the towers possible played a role in their fall. (All 7 chapters available online.)
      Sep 09, 2002 - The New York Times

Rebuilding Lower Manhattan: Architects 'Think Big'
Who are the high-profile architects involved in the project to create an alternate vision for Lower Manhattan?
      Sep 09, 2002 - The New York Times

Around The Web

Remembering 9/11
ABC News

September 11: One Year On
BBC News

September 11: One Year Later
Christian Science Monitor

America Remembers
CNN

Sept 11: The Day America Changed
Fox News

Rebuilding Manhattan Without Skyscrapers
Katarxis

Voices Of Reflection
National Public Radio

A Nation Challenged
The New York Times

America Rebuilds: A Year At Ground Zero
PBS

September 11: A Nation Remembers
Time Magazine

One Year Later
Washington Post

9/11 Special Coverage
Yahoo News

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