urban design, Washington D.C., capital, counterterrorism, security threat, defenses, 9/11, security planning


The concrete barriers, sewer pipes, and chain-link fencing that prompted the National Capital Planning Commission’s security efforts inconvenienced city residents, workers, and visitors and degraded the appearance of one of the most carefully designed and naturally beautiful cities in the world. And yet, what made these barriers intolerable was their underlying message—that the nation’s capital would allow terrorists to limit the American hallmark of open access. The National Capital Planning Commission does not ask federal agencies to ignore the threat reality, but it does ask that agencies cease to install monuments of fear and retrenchment. As the capital’s watchful steward, the Commission is committed to preserving urban design ideals and cultivating Washington’s two-hundredyear-old planning tradition.

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