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Counter-terrorism complexity: identifying opportunities for innovation

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conference contribution
posted on 24.07.2013, 08:54 by Steven N. Harre-Young, Lee BosherLee Bosher, Andrew Dainty, Jacqui Glass
As a result of the sustained and evolving threat from international and domestic terrorism, Government agendas are seeking to increase the extent to which vulnerable sites such as crowded places are protected from terrorist attacks. Recent events have highlighted the need for crowded places to be considered at higher risk, with plots and attacks in the UK alone focussing on such places in Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Exeter and Manchester. The vast majority of potential targets already exist and are therefore more complex to protect against an attack than by designing in counter-terrorism measures (CTM's) at the design and planning stages, although both result in complex trade-offs and scenarios. The aim of this research is to therefore examine the complexities inherent in ensuring crowded places are appropriately and proportionately protected from terrorist attacks, as well as identifying the trade-offs involved when designing in CTM's and retro-fitting existing locations. The benefits of and opportunities for innovation are also discussed, utilising examples from both the UK and USA where innovative technologies and practices have enabled publicly acceptable and proportionate CTM‟s to be incorporated into site designs. Empirical research was conducted alongside an extensive literature review. Case studies are used to illustrate the implications for decision makers involved in protecting crowded places. The results highlight that despite vast complexities existing when incorporating CTM‟s into existing or planned crowded places, a lack of informed and appropriate guidance for key decision makers on best practice is exacerbating this situation. As well as this, there is a lack of understanding of the inter-connectedness of the threats that are faced and the measures that are used to mitigate them. However, examples demonstrate that such complexities can lead to innovative solutions, with the Emirates Stadium in London incorporating a number of effective yet publicly acceptable CTM‟s into its design. Conclusions state that inherent complexities in such projects can act as catalysts for innovation. With the growing need for more comprehensive guidance on CTM‟s that are available for protecting crowded places, new research is examining the systemic implications and relative value of those measures. This will produce guidance for key decision makers and inform future legislation, guidelines and codes of practice.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


HARRE-YOUNG, S. ... et al., 2010. Counter-terrorism complexity: identifying opportunities for innovation. IN: Anumba, C.J. ... et al. (eds.) Innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), Penn State University, USA, 9-11 June 2010, pp. 1121 - 1130.


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This is a conference paper. It was presented at the 6th International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, June 9-11, 2010, Pennsylvania State University, USA.: http://www.engr.psu.edu/ae/AEC2010/Proceedings.pdf