The recent security lapses at the White House have brought to the forefront the 13-year-old question of how to effectively secure public spaces. As officials weigh increasing perimeter security and installing additional checkpoints at public areas adjacent to the White House, it's worth examining the effects of counter-terrorism measures on our urban experience.
Jersey barriers, bollards, restricted areas, CCTV cameras, and security guards have transformed public space in many cities. At the same time, planners and urban advocates strive to balance the desire for safe cities with the need for vibrant and connected public spaces. One hallmark of a democratic society is the ability of citizens to gather and move freely about the city.