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Thespecter and legacy of catastrophic terror haunt the collectiveunconscious of most Western cities. Terrorism in these cities is notsomething new. The place has been experiencing domestic terrorcampaigns as a result of sub-national independent struggles andideological battles. The scale of the operations alongside themartyrdom character of the communities hosting the volunteers, theIslamist imitators and terror networks, question the assumptions onthe western urbanism.
Theattacks are impetus to palpable securitization and militarization ofthe urban space for many western cities. This relates to theincreasing social polarization, proliferation of the fortifiedenclaves, urban sprawl and the increasing fear among most people. Thefast-growing industries on security have been exploiting this makingthem dig deep into pockets of the urban communities regarding theinstallation of advanced sensing systems, tracking, and communicationand surveillance systems. In addition, recent attacks have called forthe radical redesign of technical, physical and social architecturesfor cities with the aim of fighting terror.
Thispaper discusses how widespread insecurity and fears of public safetyand welfare generated, in part, by war or terror has impacted onpublic architecture, urban and civic design.
Howwidespread insecurity and fears of public safety and welfare hasgenerated, in part, by war on terror impacts on public architecture,urban and civic design
Theway in which terrorism is used has more effects on architecture andurban and civic design of the cities. For instance, the reactionmostly results from manipulation of worry and fear, which in mostcases serve the short-term and long-term economic interests. This istapped into the existential insecu1ritythat is inherent in the societal system associated with latecapitalism.
Thisreaction is as a result of manipulation of fear and worry for bothshort and long-term political interests. Such interests are for realestate producer which are tapped into the existential insecurity thatis inherent for the functioning of the societal system for the latecapitalism. For instance, after the 9/11 attack in United States,most of the urban commentators called for an acceleration of urbansprawl. This ended the skyscraper construction to lessen thelikelihood for similar attacks. Also, in London, similar thinghappened after the 7/7 terror attack that triggered proposals aimedas securitizing London using an airport-style screening.
Thepolicy makers from various parts of the world addressing immigration,transport, community policing, architecture and social policy havebeen compelled to ensure that all their work is counter-terrorism innature. Notably, striking through this are diverse reactions andresponses. Terrorism has been addressed as the existential threat todemocracy and freedom, and this necessitates radical securitizationof the cities and aggressive military action worldwide. Though manyhold different views on whether the rethinking and redesign arejustifiable, this paper gives a central discussion how the war onterror has and will impact the architecture and urban and civicdesign.
War/terrorattacks and the need for the redesign
Intheir own way, terror and war attacks reveal complex dynamics of thetransnational urbanism demonstrating the inevitable porosity of thewestern cities to transnational networks which constitute culturalMediascape and commodity chain. The radicalized Islamist has alwaysbeen linked, either directly or indirectly, to the transnationalterror groups. Initially, the infrastructures and technologies thatwere considered as enlightenment hopes to security would triumph overnature2.However, currently, the same have been used as major targets totactical attacks. This promulgates the fear of the banal sites,technologies and spaces erupting at moments of destruction and deathregardless of the geographic location.
Radicalizationof people limits any effort towards prevention of such attacks. Theimprovement of intelligence is considered to play a limited role inthe prevention of such attacks. However, major efforts have beengeared towards re-engineering the strategic urban infrastructures andspaces to equip them with sophisticated surveillance systems.
Thecity fabric comprises mostly the ‘soft targets` for terroristsmaking it complex to detect any impending attack, especially sincemost cities and urban centers allow for free movement ad interactionof people. Despite the efforts to securitize each public life domainmay be hampered, the borders can be placed under intensified armorychecks and exclusions. This has the potential of undermining thefreedom and mobility of the transnational urbanism. Consequently, theonly viable way of preventing any catastrophic terror and war attacksis to address supply of recruits and their perceptions.
Preparingfor a Disaster
Preparationfor a disaster involves close working with the city manager and otheragencies such as construction to enhance modification of the plansregarding the design for buildings. Based on location of the urbancentre, there is the possibility of being attacked using massdestruction weapons.
Duringwars, many houses and buildings are destroyed leaving most peoplehomeless. For instance in World War II, over 3.5 million homes weredestroyed. There is a call on Western Urbanism especially due to theincreased Islamic terror networks and prolonged history of terrorcampaigns. The attacks are impetus to securitization andmilitarization of the urban design for many Western cities. Thisrelates to polarization of social urban sprawl as well as theproliferation of the fortified3enclaves. This further deepens the fear among the city dwellers. Theexploitation of the complex constellation of the fast growingsecurity industry has been on the increase, with most of the peopleclaiming to offer the best security system in terms of surveillance,communication and sensors. Furthermore, the increased level ofattacks has called for the awakening of the right-wing commentatorsto oversee the radical redesign of the social, technical and physicalcity architectures to enhance the fight against putative enemies.
Forinstance, in US, the 9/11 terror attack saw many commentators callingfor the acceleration of the sprawl and an end to the construction ofthe skyscraper to reduce the likelihood of targeting the iconicbuildings. Also, in UK, the 7/7 terror attack triggered thesecuritization of London tube with an airport-screening style.Similarly, across many major cities in the world, the policy makersin charge of urban design and architectures are compelled to takemeaningful efforts towards ensuring that the designs and allarchitecture work is ‘counter-terror` in nature.
InUS and UK, the major contributors in countering the global terrorhave considered terrorism and war as the existential threat tocivilization and democracy. They have expressed the need for radicalsecuritization of urban centers as well as taking aggressive militaryaction worldwide. This calls for sh4rillefforts to the military action since terrorism threatens the publicsafety. Therefore, the major question is whether redesigning thecities can prevent terror attacks.
Terrorattacks, in their own way, reveal complex dynamics of thetransnational urbanism. Michael smith noted that the attack is a goodreflection of the level of porosity for the sites in most westerncities and the transnational networks which cut across the globalfinancial marketplace, commodity chain or the Mediascape. Theradicalized and disaffected Islamists use Internet and TV inimitating the terror attacks by their fellow radicals of martyrdomand hatred to avenge the Israeli and Western military assaults.
Therisk is propelled as the visitors or third generation citizens tothose states do not need visas or immigration documents for them tobe able to access the military hardware. Basically, most of thewestern cities consist of the infinite number of the soft targets,which are the embedded urban assets. This necessitates functioning ofthe transitional cities as devastating non-conventional weapons. Themajor infrastructures and technologies that used to enlighten thehope for most people have turned out as Achilles heels for thewestern cities and their residents.
Theterrorists could use hijacked airplanes as suicidal cruise missiles,that when directed into one of the most modern and largest structurein the world, devastation similar to a tactical nuclear attackresults. For instance, the TV networks zoomed from Manhattan providedthe transmission for message by terrorists as it broadcasted theimpact of the second impact by the plane globally. This indicatesthat everywhere is prone to attacks. The perpetrators use theirbodies as weapons where they intermingle vastly across popularizedcities. Various technologies are being put in place to providetriggers and means through which the attacks can be coordinated andgive technical information regarding the making of deadly weapons anddelivering triumphant propaganda regarding the fact.
Theterrorists want to undermine the bodily security and safety notions,which are essential elements of the western urbanism so as topromulgate the fear of banal spaces and sites being prone toeruptions and sudden death regardless of the geographic location.
TheUrban Anti-Terrorism Dilemma
Mostpeople have become radicalized making it easier for them to commit insuicide attacks. Prospects of preventing such attacks are minimal,and the best immediate hope would be to generate intelligence thatcan intercept attackers before any catastrophic strike. However, manyattackers are imitating the Al-Qaeda tactics, even those with westerncitizenship. This makes it easy for planning the5attacks through use of readily available information and materialswithout feared of being detected. Nevertheless, the police andintelligence unit in US can improve their information gathering andcoordination to improve chances of preventing attackers fromstriking.
Effortsare put in re-engineering strategic urban planning to ensure that allstructures are equipped with the surveillance systems. For instance,the central London was wrapped in a steel ring to counter the IRAbombs. The city roads have been enclosed in a wall of smart CCTVsensors that scan for any abnormal event automatically. The defensiveurban design can be critical in boosting the global constellations ofmilitary, corrections corporations and security. The surveillancesurge after the 9/11 attack may enhance tracking of known terrorists.The designs can minimize the damage from terrorist bombings onstrategic areas within the urban centers. Any secure boundary can beprone to terror attacks. Contemporary cities are faced with infinitecomplexities and permeability making them relies on open and complexpeople flow. Such permeability and complexities undermine thetechnical solutions to terror attacks.
Also,due to soft 6targets,it might not be easy to protect the city against terrorist attacks.The hopes of suing the technology to prevent the same may not beeasy, either. For instance, CCTVs may only be effective when thesuspect is known. In big cities, facial recognition can ineffective.Moreover, the unplanned side-effects for the radical anti-terroristpolicies may be harmful to the urban life in a broader sense.Attempts to make the city system for securitized passage points maymake life become intolerable and untenable. Successful cities allowpeople freedom to move. Governments have attempted to re-engineerthese cities to make the all unpredictable systems and spaces becomesecuritized points. To enhance the effectiveness, the city mustsacrifice the millennia-old tradition for anonymity in urban areas.The vibrancy marking successful cities may be done away with thedemocratic civil rights being abandoned while fighting terrorism.
Thoughthe efforts of securitizing various domains in public places may beaffected, the transnational urbanism is also undermined. Forinstance, many nationals from other areas outside US have not beenable to visit due to tight security measures at the border.
Theonly viable way of bringing to an end the catastrophic terror attackson cities may be to address grievances of ideologies and ideologuesby the radical Islamists in their recruit and radicalization ofactivists and attackers. Science has continued to draw attention ofurban resident to water and in totally new ways. The fear of impunitycan be grounded in empirical terms similar to the how the air iscomposed of oxygen, nitrogen, carbonic acid and a small part ofaqueous vapor. The large public buildings and domestic spaces were toserve as registers for quality air, regardless of whether f7oggy,moisture laden, dusty, sooty or malodorous. Most cities give libertyto libraries, public halls and train sheds among others. Features,especially during bad weather, reveal the apprehension and noveltyinspired by the burgeoning urban centre. For instance, manyoccurrences like movement of vapor have been mistaken for a fog.
Meditatingbetween the sensory nerves in the body and public spaces, suchbelieves can be paralleled by complexity in atmospheric phenomenawith the advancement of the century. There has been increasinginterest between temperature, movement of air, topography andbarometric pressure among others. Such interests have heightened thesense on interconnectedness between cities and the inhabitants on thebasis of climate. This heightens the evocative capacity. Forinstance, the houses, especially by the poor, are not strong enough,with most of them build on top of sewers, hence vulnerable todefensive space of hygiene and sanitation.
Suchvitality proves the measure by a man to interfere with the naturalworld and forces that can reclaim cities when man is no more. Thefactual accounts furthered a sense of interconnectedness of thedepartments in nature and dependence of humankind upon them. Thisalso promotes a sense of vitality for both natural and builtenvironments establishing boundaries between the domains andpromoting a realm of discernment and discrimination. This owes itsorigin from the forces of the divine nature that saw the reclamationof the towers of Babylon, which was a fallen city. This animates thepilgrimage by August Dore in London after a tour in 8metropolisthat had the images of squalor and Victorian grandeur. Despite ofmost literacy work dramatizing the empirical science, in reality, theworld is suffocating under the fecundity of the nature as well as theuncontrolled floral growth that is reclaiming land that were caredfor and inhabited initially.9The literacy works oppose the human culture that represent the cityas domain for human enterprise as well as the potential neglect thatforms a remarkable backdrop for the environmental catastrophe thatrely on urban settings.10
Thetechnical and military assaults have less likelihood of ending theterrorist campaigns. The invasion by the west of Iraq and other Asiancountries has propelled the attacks. Eventually, the design of thecity and urban centers must be in such a way that they protect thepeople from attacks. The counter-attacks by both terrorists andwesterners target the urban spaces. The real challenge may be,therefore, to redesign as well as securitize the western citiesagainst the imminent terrorist attacks. Assertive power oftransnational urbanism must be availed for imperialist projects andviolent nationalists.
Theurbanizing world must be intensely globalised and securitized,ensuring the transitional urbanism is put in place to create hybridcities, which are indefinitely complex. All the attacks against thetransnational urban space and mix-up cities can be minimized throughproper 9design.This ensures key building block of mongrel and diverse urban spheres,necessary especially because of the increased globalization. Citieshave made it possible to reflect on society and human identity.Destruction of cities has triggered the need for collectiveresponsibilities. The unpredictable nature of terrorism and warattacks has been exploited extensively from military, security andpolitical domains. Fear mongering, instead of presenting theterrorism as a security threat, has taken the order making terroristattacks be associated with poor security and policing.11
Thestate and city-based organizations have proposed for redesigning ofroads, urban spaces and buildings to fortify the possible targets ofattack as well as creating defensive landscapes. This is aimed atreplacing the relatively open and free mobility model with the onethat channels movement of citizens through various convergence pointswhere monitoring and architectural techniques have been employed inorder to observe and legitimize them.12The process becomes secretive over time as bomb-proof elements areincorporated over time into the landscape and architecture. Thetraffic monitoring, urban design, and criminal activity scrutiny actas means of combating terrorism. The far-reaching questions regardingthe city’s architecture is raised after redesigning the landscapeto reduce the terrorist attacks risks.10
Waragainst terrorism has, therefore, focused on the development ofadvanced systems of surveillance that can continually monitor people,capital movements and objects regardless of the complexity of theurban setting.13This will help in identifying the flaws or behaviors that areanomalous. The adoption of military-based paradigms for targetrecognition will enhance the installation of the systems intransnational airlines, communication and transport systems and incities.14Such initiatives will involve reshaping the frontier technologies andgeographies, as well as suggesting the close relationship between thetechnology-based revolution for the military affairs and the measuresof national security affecting urban infrastructure in most thecities.15
Amoore,Louise. Architecturesof Fear: Terrorism and the Future of Urbanism in the West.Barcelona: Centre De Cultura Contemporània De Barcelona, 2008.
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Dülgeroğlu,Yurdanur. CityArchitecture: In between past and Future.Istanbul: Cenkler Matbaasi, 2005.
Field,M. CityArchitecture: Or, Designs for Dwelling Houses, Stores, Hotels, Etc.in 20 Plates, with Descriptions, and an Essay on the Principles of.S.I.: General, 2009.
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M.,Field. CityArchitecture.S.I.: Hardpress, 2013.
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Read,Gray. "The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, LandscapeArchitecture and City Planning at Harvard Anthony Alofsin CaliforniaModern: The Architecture of Craig Ellwood Neil Jackson." Journalof the Society of Architectural Historians64.1 (2005): 116-18.
Shadar,Hadas. "The Linear City: Linearity without a City." TheJournal of Architecture16.5 (2011): 727-64.
Simpson,David. 9/11:The Culture of Commemoration.Chicago: U of Chicago, 2006. Print.
Smith,Michael Peter. TransnationalUrbanism: Locating Globalization.Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.
Taylor,Robert W. DigitalCrime and Digital Terrorism.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.
Taylor,William M. "Urban Disasters: Visualizing the Fall of Cities andthe Forming of Human Values." TheJournal of Architecture11.5 (2006): 603-11.
1 Chopra, Preeti. "Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914 (review)." Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum 19.1 (2012): 122-24.
2 Amoore, Louise. Architectures of Fear: Terrorism and the Future of Urbanism in the West. Barcelona: Centre De Cultura Contemporània De Barcelona, 2008
3 Dülgeroğlu, Yurdanur. City Architecture: In between past and Future. Istanbul: Cenkler Matbaasi, 2005.
4 Kenzari, Bechir. Architecture and Violence. Barcelona: Actar, 2011.
5 Field, M. City Architecture: Or, Designs for Dwelling Houses, Stores, Hotels, Etc. in 20 Plates, with Descriptions, and an Essay on the Principles of. S.I.: General, 2009.
6 M., Field. City Architecture. S.I.: Hardpress, 2013.
7 Marcus, Alan. "Visualizing the City Introduction." The Journal of Architecture 11.5 (2006): 521-22
8 Mitkovic, Petar, and Milena Dinic. "City Center Organization and Its Influence on the City Structure." Facta Universitatis – Series: Architecture and Civil Engineering 3.1 (2004): 41-56.
9 Pallister, James. City Architecture: Redesigning the City of London, 1991-2011. London: Architects` Journal, 2011.
10 Read, Gray. "The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture and City Planning at Harvard Anthony Alofsin California Modern: The Architecture of Craig Ellwood Neil Jackson." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64.1 (2005): 116-18
911 Shadar, Hadas. "The Linear City: Linearity without a City." The Journal of Architecture 16.5 (2011): 727-64.
12 Simpson, David. 9/11: The Culture of Commemoration. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2006. Print.
1013 Smith, Michael Peter. Transnational Urbanism: Locating Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.
14 Taylor, Robert W. Digital Crime and Digital Terrorism. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.
15 Taylor, William M. "Urban Disasters: Visualizing the Fall of Cities and the Forming of Human Values." The Journal of Architecture 11.5 (2006): 603-11.