Resilient Design

Resilient Design (RE-DESIGN) for counter-terrorism: Decision support for designing effective and acceptable resilient places

Over the last five years the threat of terrorism has evolved rapidly, and new approaches to counter-terrorism are needed in response. Crowded public places (e.g. shopping areas, transport systems, sports and conference arenas) are at high risk, and cannot be subject to traditional security approaches such as searches and checkpoints without radically changing public experience. The creation of an environment which is inherently more resilient, and less likely to suffer attack through “designing-out” terrorism, offers hope of improving security in an acceptable and effective way. Similar strategies have previously been successful in “designing-out” crime. The goal of this research is to develop methods for evaluating counter-terror design, including the social impact, physical feasibility and likely effectiveness of the strategies, and to provide these to stakeholders through a decision support framework (DSF) and guidance notes.

Research aim and objectives

A place which is designed so as to be less likely to suffer terrorist attack, or which can better protect people and quickly recover in the event of an attack can be described as a resilient place. The REDESIGN project seeks to ensure that best practice in the design of effective and acceptable resilient public places can be more widely achieved through the structured and considered integration of counter-terror measures into the decision-making processes of key stakeholders involved with the planning, design, construction, operation and management of public places and transport systems. In doing so, it will address key questions about the public acceptability of counter terror measures, and the potential for public involvement in these measures. The project will focus on busy shopping areas and light rail systems, but also aims to develop findings that are transferable to other types of public place.

The specific objectives are to:

1. Develop a multi-disciplinary methodology to help understand the competing functionalities (social, economic, aesthetic, managerial) involved in the production and maintenance of resilient places;

2. Develop a decision support framework to assist key stakeholders in the design of resilient places;

3. Conduct specific studies to evaluate the design methodology and decision support framework in busy shopping areas and for light rail systems;

4. Establish a research ‘road map’ for exploring emerging issues and any identified gaps in knowledge.

Project Team

The project is the result of collaboration between a number of UK universities and draws on recent work by the partners in examining the impact of surveillance and territorial control measures in reducing the risk of terrorist attack in cities; the impact of new forms of managing the terrorist threat through resilience forums at all tiers of governments; the increased use of non-conventional terrorist tactics against crowds; the potential of engineering solutions to reduce the impact of terrorist attack on the railway system; the social impact and acceptance of counter-terror measures upon urban society; and how disaster management expertise is being incorporated into the creation of sustainable built environments.

It is funded jointly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. The RE-DESIGN project also has a number of non-academic project partners: the Office of Rail Regulation, Nottingham Express Transit, Newcastle Nexus, and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO).