Copyright (c) 2005 William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review
William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review
Article: American Cities and Sustainable Development in the Age of Global Terrorism: Some Thoughts on Fortress America and the Potential for Defensive Dispersal II
30 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol'y Rev. 95
Edward H. Ziegler*
Introduction: Terrorism, Urban Form, and Sustainable Development
America's cities, with their population density and concentration of fragile transportation, telecommunications, electric and other utility lines, will surely be prime targets for attack-the 'front line' . . . of the war on terrorism, or more accurately, terrorism's war on us. 1
-Richard Briffault, 2002
Aristotle's statement that a city is 'built politics' suggests the often significant level of interaction between the design and form of the built environment and the dominant political values that shape a city's governance. 2 Throughout the history of the United States, the form of the built environment has embraced at various times and places both the closed stockade values of fear and terror and the more open, hopeful, and exuberant values of cosmopolitan urban modernity. 3 Today, of course, our major cities are shadowed by our largely suburban nation. 4 Nearly two-thirds of the people in this country now live and work in suburban areas, and these numbers are increasing. 5
Throughout most of the twentieth century, this country's built politics embraced the suburban modernity of low-density automobile-dependent hypersprawl. 6 Today, the growing threat of global terrorism has initiated a new debate about this country's built politics. The debate raises critical questions about the sustainability of the design, form, and footprint of both our major cities and suburban areas. 7
"The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City were the most devastating attacks by a foreign power on an American ...
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