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Creating Safety
As the U.S. government places a priority on protecting public spaces from terrorist attacks, landscape architects find a role.
By Lisa Speckhardt and Jennifer Dowdell

The phrase "in the wake of 9/11" has become almost a refrain, as people mark the divide between a former sense of safety and a current sense of fear. Before 9/11, security for public spaces was one of several priorities when approaching a design; in the post 9/11 world, it has shot to the top of the list.

That this increased demand for security will affect the work of landscape architects, especially those who work with any level of government, is a given. A year later in Washington, D.C., the hastily deployed jersey barriers and fencing outside many government facilities and other public spaces cry out to be replaced with more-permanent measures. From a security standpoint, controlling access is crucial; from a design standpoint, making the nation's capital look like Alcatraz is a disaster. As Richard Friedman, chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission's (NCPC) Interagency Security Task Force points out, "When L'Enfant laid out the city, vehicle bombings were not part of his thinking."

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