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LANDSCAPING & EXTERNAL WORKS


Keeping the public safe, not scared


Securing public spaces – rather than simply focusing on their aesthetics – has fast risen up the agenda for architects, but there is a risk of choosing overly utilitarian options, says Jaz Vilkhu of Marshalls Landscape Protection


T


he need to protect the public from vehicle-borne attacks and accidents has always been an important element for architects to consider on projects ranging from town and city centre schemes through to sports stadiums. In recent years, however, as criminal ram raids have increased in frequency and terrorist attacks claimed more lives, the task has become increasingly important.


The issue of protecting public spaces poses two challenges. The first comes from the fact that vehicle terror attacks require little to no planning and can be carried out in an instant. The natural conclusion from this is that it is extremely difficult to predict where and when an incident might happen, creating problems with specifying products to mitigate against this unpredictable threat. The second is that all too often the products that are chosen are flawed, both aesthetically and for the protection they offer. Take metal barriers and concrete blocks, for example, which have long been the de facto choice. First, their appearance serves to create a hostile look and feel to an area, which leads to fortification. Second, while they are heavy and offer a physical barrier, quite often they’re not installed or specified with any security standards. In essence, what is being installed is effectively a dead weight that may stop a vehicle but doesn’t offer any actual security guarantees. But that doesn’t need to be the case, and a range of options exist for architects to consider early on in any project that both protect and fit in with its wider aesthetics. These can come in the form of planters, cycle stands, litter bins and benches that can deliver to differing security specifications. Specifying to Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 68, for


95


ADF OCTOBER 2019


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