A Site Planning and Design Process for Antiterrorism Practices

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Virginia Tech

This study explores a solution to a growing problem involving the landscapes of many prominent landmarks in America. The probability that terrorists will target and attack public and private sites has mandated increased security presence. The initial response was to surround sensitive facilities with barriers and guards. Thus, the images of these sites intended to be publicly open and welcoming are being transformed to seemingly modern fortresses. To date, the solution to the problem has focused on sophisticated engineering and electronics to help protect vulnerable architecture. Meanwhile, the potential contribution of the landscape architecture profession has not been fully recognized.

This thesis develops a planning process to guide the integration of site design and physical security. It describes the role of the landscape architect on design teams charged with the complex task of protecting against terrorism. The document provides the landscape architect with a flowchart, site images, and a step-by-step process that leads to reconciliation of conflicting needs. The thesis culminates with a conceptual schematic site design that demonstrates how the site planning and design process proposed in this thesis can be a mechanism to achieve both secure and socially desirable landscapes.

This thesis helps resolve the current dilemma of how to maintain an adequate degree of security while preserving a sense of openness on a site. The paper identifies functions specific to the landscape architecture profession that ease and improve collaboration on secure site design. It identifies a niche that has the potential to increase the demand for landscape architectural services. Most importantly, the planning and design process proposed in this document fills a void in the existing literature by addressing the significance of landscape architecture in antiterrorism practices.

Physical Security, Terrorism, Site Design