How security measures are hurting cities

David Dixon, a urban design thinker in New England, believes that “the war against terrorism threatens to become a war against the livability of American cities.”

In the rush to respond to the threat of terrorism,” Dixon said, “a loose network of public officials, architects, developers, engineers, lawyers, planners, security consultants and others who influence building codes [is] creating a new generation of planning and design regulations.

An example of this security regimen is the recent FBI building in New Haven (Connecticut), because of the required no man’s land between the building and the streets, an entire block is removed from the public realm.


This lifeless zone with metal fences and barriers makes this section of New Haven unappealing to restaurants, cafes and shops. People instinctively avoid inactive or fortress-like stretches of urban sidewalk.

Other striking examples can be found throughout the States.
Some facilities need protection – the White House, the Capitol, the Pentagon and military installations, etc, but is it necessary or wise to treat thousands of buildings as if every one of them might be attacked at any moment? asks Dixon. Current government policy seems undiscriminating.

How can the United States carry out a policy of cowering behind barriers and buffer zones and still claim to be “home of the brave“?

Via Archinect CTnow.