Custom Architectural Bollard - courtesy FEMA

Custom Architectural Bollard – courtesy FEMA

In early January I wrote a blog article entitled: “NYC Investing Millions To Install Anti Terrorist Bollards”.

In it I discussed Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for a major investment in anti-terrorist bollards to protect citizens and tourists from vehicle attacks New York City. Fifty million dollars will be invested to install 1,500 protective bollards in popular areas throughout NYC’s five boroughs. The goal here is to protect both New York citizens as well as tourists and to keep them safe on streets and in public places.

As a counter point I found and read this January 29th blog article on the Charged Affairs Website: “Proliferating Bollards: Managing the Risk of Terrorism Through Protective Design”. The author is Olivia Edwards who raises some contrary views from an architect, geographer, professor as well as business people.

Edwards raises the notion of sacrificing “the expense of urban vibrancy, inclusitivity, access, and freedom of movement” in the name of security and the protection of citizens. Other concerns I noted included the possible denial of free movement, modifying the way people interact with the local environment, limiting access for those with disabilities, aesthetically uninviting spaces, fewer locations for social interaction, greater segregation between haves and have nots, etc. The impact of counter terrorism barricades on businesses around Trump Tower in the city was also noted.

I agree with Edwards that there has to be a balance. She makes a great point in suggesting the powers that be open up the closed door meetings and discussions about security, even at the highest national level. Of course, that might lead to decision by committee resulting in a delay in action and the sacrifice of additional lives.

Given the pros and cons, as well as the stated objections against, I would ask a similar question Edwards raises:

Are you for or against the design and installation of anti-terrorism bollards if it means giving up the raised concerns above so you will be incrementally safer?

I don’t know, but if I were given the choice of what side of the Great Wall in China I wanted to be on when the northern invaders attacked, guess what my answer would be?