Security concerns for the Washington Monument were addressed at the Feb. 7 hearing of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) in Washington, D.C. Marcia Argust, Director of Public and Government Affairs for the American Society of Landscape Architects, testified on behalf of ASLA
"[ASLA] strongly supports security measures that protect the public buildings and spaces of the Nation's Capital," Argust said. "We are vitally concerned that such measures not only provide substantive security and make people feel safe, but equally important, maintain freedom of movement and accessibility that is central to citizens' relationship with their government."
ASLA recently organized the Security Design Coalition, comprised of allied design organizations and stakeholders in the Washington, D.C. area., to address concerns that arose after drastic access restrictions were imposed on several public spaces and buildings. NCPC has named the Security Design Coalition as a Participating Member on its task force to implement its recently introduced Urban Design and Security Plan for the nation's capital. ASLA and another organization will represent the coalition on the task force.
Argust testified on the proposed design for an underground approach for the recently renovated Washington Monument. Designed by the landscape architecture firm Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, the plan calls for walled, sunken walkway and an underground tunnel entrance to replace the jersey barriers that currently circle the monument in a haphazard fashion. The D.C. Fine Arts Commission approved the plan in December 2001 after Olin Partnership won a design competition sponsored by the National Park Service. The proposal has not yet received congressional funding.
"Security for the Washington Monument has been an important concern of federal and city officials since its construction," Argust told NCPC members. "As one of the enduring symbols of American democracy, and in the wake of the attacks of September 11, the monument is at increased risk from acts of terror. We endorse appropriate means of security to protect the monument and maintain its integrity as a historic structure and a national icon."
To read the complete
transcript of Argust's testimony
. For more information about the Security Design Coalitions and creating safe and attractive spaces, visit
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association representing the more 30,000 landscape architects nationwide. ASLA has grown to more than 13,500 members and 48 chapters, in all 50 states, the U.S. territories and 42 countries around the world. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication and networking.