1. Securing our public realm via Environmental Design (CPTED)
CPTED involves deliberately altering the physical design of communities and places to deter criminal activity. The aspirations of architects or landscape designers to enhance a public realm design often reflect CPTED principles.
For openness, read natural surveillance. For clearly defined spaces, read territoriality. For seats and landscaping, read cleverly disguised hostile vehicle mitigation. It is important that we consider the principles of CPTED early in the design of our public spaces.
2. Developing secure zones
Developing wider secure zones and safety perimeters within CBDs and high-density areas is increasingly appropriate. Managed through the combined efforts of town planning and business security initiatives, it calls for effectively managing road closures, developing pedestrian zones and sharing off-site logistics hubs with regulated deliveries in designated, readily identifiable vehicles.
3. Strengthen our buildings
While secure public realms are the first layer of defence, secure building design is the second. Security should be considered early in the design process and engage all relevant parties including developers, architects, quantity surveyors, owners, insurers, financiers and tenants, where possible. This approach allows for more targeted security enhancing solutions such as traffic calming, vehicle blockers, blast resistant glazing, or more technology-focussed solutions.
Security measures can often provide additional benefits, such as blast resistant glazing on tall buildings that also strengthen against wind. WSP has embraced this idea during design work for a number of iconic tall buildings in London, which included blast resistent glazing and facial recognition software.
Retrospective installation of security on pre-existing buildings is sometimes unavoidable. Designers must carefully consider the cost and impact versus the benefit. Measures can include the application of anti-shatter film to windows, structural enhancement or installation of bollards on access roads.
4. Using technology against physical threats
Advances in technical security add a digital layer of defence that enhances our ability to respond swiftly to threats. Video analytics allow us to identify stolen vehicles (a possible precursor to an attack), recognise criminals or terror suspects, and analyse suspicious behaviour and packages.
Integrated security management systems mean we can effectively control the security of a building, lock down areas, raise alarms and provide early warning, call up security services and coordinate responses, or transfer control to disaster centres.
5. Operational security
Operational security should include things such as security staffing and behaviour, mail screening, employee screening, evacuation procedures, business continuity, and information security. Good physical security is a deterrent, but without these tight operational security measures businesses are still vulnerable.
Operational security should be rigorous and regularly reviewed but need not be oppressive. In fact, many of the policies and procedures for enhanced operational security are the same or similar to those used for wider business resilience.
Training staff to be vigilant to the likely precursors to an attack, to have confidence to report suspicious activity to the police, and how to respond in the event of a terror attack may make all the difference.
Terrorism has shown it can adapt and innovate – and we must too. Urban environment design must take every opportunity to apply security in ways that will evolve to meet the changing risk in our urban environments.
Terrorism can no longer be treated as a political issue that is solely the responsibility of governments.