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News article14 December 2022Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Security by Design: Protection of public spaces from terrorist attacks

Busy shopping street in Brussels, divided by metal barriers, with two directions of flow of foot traffic

Handbook looks at ‘Security by design’

In this handbook the Joint Research Centre brings together scientists, experts and academia for a book that dives deep into how open public spaces can be planned and built in a more secure way, through security by design.

“Security by Design: Protection of public spaces from terrorist attacks” introduces the concept and practical implementation of building security in the design and redesign of public spaces. It does so while providing information on terrorism risk assessment, project planning and management. It proposes innovative technical solutions for the protection of public spaces against terrorist attacks. Security by design is built upon the principles of proportionality, multi-functionality, sustainability, accessibility and aesthetics. It is the complete opposite of the creation of urban fortresses.

Public spaces are vulnerable because they are open, easily accessible and attract a great number of people. They are often referred to as « soft targets ». Their vulnerability lies in the fact that they usually lack specialised protective measures and can then be attacked using simple tactics. Such targets are often chosen by terrorists willing to maximise casualties, attain media coverage and inflict fear in the population. Independent of the rarity of such attacks, their psychological, economic and political impact on society can be disproportionally high. In recent years, public spaces such as shopping centres, markets, places of worship, public transport and entertainment venues have become the target of terrorist attacks across Europe.

The action plan to support the protection of public spaces  set out a concrete list of measures to pave the way for effective EU Member State cooperation in the protection of public spaces, while the 2020 Counter-terrorism Agenda for the EU focused on the support to Member States in better anticipating, preventing, protecting and responding to the terrorist threats.

In the Counter-Terrorism Agenda, the book is mentioned as a virtual architectural book on urban design, which can assist authorities in incorporating security aspects in the design or renovation public spaces. While the handbook is not legally binding it does contains relevant information and expert advice. It aims to help address practical concerns of integrating security measures for project teams, security operators, urban planners and anyone involved in public space projects. It will help readers answer questions whether and, if yes, to what extent they may wish to implement protective solutions through design.

You can read the handbook to find out more on how to make public spaces not only safer but also multifunctional, sustainable, beautiful and accessible for all people.

Details

Publication date
14 December 2022
Author
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs