Security Concerns Create Opportunities for Public Spaces

With federal funding throw at homeland security over the last decade, architects and urban designers found an opportunity to develop great public spaces that are enjoyable as well as secure, writes Carol Strickland.

Early responses were crude, writes Strickland, as bollards and fences invaded public spaces. But as the decade wore on, designers found ways to take advantage of the security needs:

One sweet result of the bitter reality is the recommended 100-foot "standoff zone" between a new building and the curb (to keep bomb-laden vehicles at bay). The setback creates new public spaces, planted plazas for pedestrians. And while buildings themselves may be "hardened" with concrete cores, thick masonry walls, and wide stairways as escape routes, softer measures on the outside effectively accomplish the three D's of defense: ­detect, deter, and delay."

Strickland points to the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in Washington as an effective example.

Full Story: Designing for Disaster

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