Architecture In The Era Of Terror: The Security Dilemma
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The growing public concern over the proliferation of terrorism has made protection of the physical environment of potential targets and terror interdiction a salient issue. The objective to secure the built environment against terrorism introduces a complex dilemma. At one level, the extent of investments in security in terms of cost-effectiveness is not proportional to the relatively rare threat of terrorism. Another level of the dilemma is rooted in the complex psychological implications of using security measures, that is, how to physically secure a building, while psychologically deter potential terrorists; more importantly is the question of how to accomplish those and yet not scare the users, i.e., the public. The latter part of the dilemma has been relatively ignored in the analysis of architectural measures against terrorism. And since catering to the psychological comfort of the users of the built environment has always been one of the greatest challenges of architecture, this paper focuses on that portion of the security dilemma of terrorism. Specifically, the study examines the threat characteristics and analyzes design recommendations that address the threat of terror for their contribution to the psychological comfort of the end users. Keywords: architecture, built environment, terrorism, risk assessment, security perception, security measures, design recommendations. 1 Introduction The post–cold war, as defined by John Lewis Gaddis , began with the collapse of one structure, the Berlin wall on November 9, 1989, and ended with the collapse of another, the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Paul Bracken  describes this new age as the era of \“think the unthinkable”, as it has become a common term in thinking of our life in a terror stricken environment.
architecture, built environment, terrorism, risk assessment, security perception, security measures, design recommendations.