How Cities Use Hidden Design to Thwart Terrorism – Cheddar Explores

This Arsenal sign stands proudly outside of Emirates Stadium in London. It’s where the famous football club plays. As many as 60,000 fans pass by the sign as they fill into the stadium. It helps rile up the Gonners as the fans call themselves, that their Gunners as the team is called are ready for whatever comes. The sign is also ready for whatever comes. That’s because its placement isn’t only for pride, it’s for safety. With all those pedestrians approaching the stadium in a predictable manner at a predictable time, the plaza was susceptible to a terrorist attack by vehicle. The sign protects people from that threat and does it in a way that makes people happy. It’s a great example of how design can be used to improve a public space while also keeping people safe. Unfortunately, England seen far too many special bulletins with bad news. Within the last hour, there’s been an explosion in Manchester city center. Early reports indicate that the government district was hit by motor fire. Today, London has been rocked not merely by a scandal, but by slaughter. Eight people killed, more than 50 injured in separate but related terrorist attacks. In the 1980s and 90s, England was hit with a string of terrorist attacks from the IRA. England’s reaction was stiff. In London, they created what’s known as the ring of steel. It was an area lined with concrete blocks designed to create a mode of sorts, a space between the cars and pedestrians and buildings. Police checkpoints, closed caption TV, and strict speed limits were enforced. Security was tight, seemed rather dystopian but it was all in the name of safety. So how do we stop these attacks while also not scaring people? City design, urban designers and planners, like the people behind the Arsenal sign, are considering ways to keep people safe. They’re trying to do it in a creative way that improves the space so that people don’t feel like they’re living in a war zone. Let’s move out. [inaudible] Terrorist attacks in the 80s and 90s, like the IRA bombings, the truck bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing, changed everything. City planners now needed to design with terrorism in mind, but that design isn’t always as obvious as the ring of steel. In 2005, the Washington Monument had a wall installed preventing trucks from getting close. The use of bollards became more prevalent. Garbage cans on subway platforms and city streets in several countries were either removed or made with materials that wouldn’t fragment in a blast, but things have changed. Cities are faced with different challenges. We’re reminded of that by the news seemingly daily. It is the deadliest terror attack in France in decades. The bullet spraying into a crowd of roughly 22,000 concertgoers. What I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. Mass shootings are a terrifying reality of the modern world. France has seen several in recent years and in turn installed glass bulletproof panels at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Another technique designers use for public areas are the creation of choke points or bottlenecks. This allows closed caption TV monitoring and police on foot to inspect who is coming into an area. This is particularly true in buildings like skyscrapers, but these choke points don’t have to look tough. They can be decorated like this one, giving them a bit of a renaissance fair feel. Authorities in Tokyo were probing a motive after a car plowed into pedestrians celebrating the new year. Around 10:30 local time, a big white truck, basically, a tractor-trailer drove into a crowd that had gathered. Authorities say Saipov drove a pickup truck rented at a Home Depot in New Jersey onto a bike path along Manhattan’s busy West Side Highway. He drove nearly a mile from Houston Street to Chambers Street running over cyclists and pedestrians along the way. In 2017, there was a terrorist attack coming right down this bike lane. As a result, the city is trying to do a better job of securing areas with heavy foot traffic. New York City is investing more than 100 million dollars in additional bollards in areas along the West Side Highway, Times Square, Herald Square, and the Freedom Tower. The feeling around the Freedom Tower is that it’s really wide open. There’s a lot of space, but it’s certainly set off the road and there’s a lot of protection from any vehicular attacks. These measures have been adopted around the world. There’s also a push to only allow autonomous vehicles or to eliminate them entirely in squares that have a lot of pedestrians like was done in New York’s Flatiron District. You create some park-like area with benches, trees, and gardens. Those items aren’t placed there arbitrarily, just like the Arsenal sign, these things are here for protection. You see, instead of installing bollards, cities are looking at other ways to prevent a vehicle attack. Trees and benches are a part of that. DC is currently redesigning its Chinatown neighborhood to prevent such attacks, but instead of installing bland war zone like bollards, they’re doing it by installing benches, bike racks and trees, which makes the neighborhood a lot more comfortable. Wow! The Al-Qaeda linked group, Al- Shabaab, taking responsibility for the blast in the city of Mogadishu. At least 10 people were killed and dozens more injured. A makeshift memorial is growing for victims of the suicide bombing last night at the Manchester Arena. At least 22 were killed and 59 wounded. Two suspects at the train station security checkpoint just before the suicide bomb was detonated. Then there are explosions to deal with. London’s planners are going back to an old idea. They’re discussing installing a new ring of steel for London square mile. It would involve manned checkpoints, bollards, restricted roads, and crash-proof barriers. The project would be completed by 2021 or 2022. The idea is to protect the skyscrapers there. When designing subways, you want to open them up as much as possible. A report published in InformeDesign in 2008 is recommending that stations flow with less obstruction. The reduction of choke points so that people aren’t all in one spot at any time and limiting the materials of objects like garbage cans or vending machines to, again, reduce the fragmentation in the event a bomb goes off. You want people to spread out and to be able to see as much as possible so they can identify where their best exit is. The report also suggests having air ventilation systems that can handle a chemical attack from above a station as well as from inside. Let’s get theoretical for the moment and design the optimal city layout for thwarting terrorism and improving law enforcement response time. Our layout would be one where the heights of buildings were varied. That would give law enforcement from above better visibility. The tall buildings condensed in one area means you really can’t see further than the block you’re on. You’d also consider designing with some winding roads or speed bumps to prevent vehicles from reaching dangerous speeds. You could also add signs like the Arsenal one, but let’s be honest, not all signs would inspire as much joy like a giant Knicks sign. You wouldn’t want to celebrate what is it? Their 20th year of being awful, still charging a thousand dollars to get in the building. How? Hey everyone. Thank you so much for watching. If you like what you saw, please like, comment, subscribe. Make sure you hit that little bell so that you get notifications for when Cheddar post it’s new content. We have so much fun stuff coming, please keep watching.

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