Guns Architects Public space how do they mix

I am surprised this has not been discussed much yet but then here I am facing this issue right now, I’m sitting in a Café in a small city in Michigan and 5 feet away is a man with a gun in a holster, this is Saturday morning and judging by the dress and conversation tidbits he is conservative older white guy. Not a police officer. So how does this new era of liberalization of our nation’s gun laws change public space and the social and design considerations. In Illinois the last state to have a ban on concealed carry had the laws struck down by federal courts (we may refer to them as activist judges) In Michigan you can take your guns to churches schools and theaters. In Florida it is illegal for pediatricians to ask parents if they have a gun and if it is properly secured.

Assuming that a larger portion of the general public will be carrying guns, that we are in the beginning of a personal arms race, what responses should architects consider?  Do we need bullet proof doors and windows for schools, Classroom panic rooms?  How can we make the built environment safe for the gun packing and unarmed public to interact? Can we expect building codes to address the life safety issues of firearms as thoroughly as fires?

Assuming the political reality won’t change for the next decade what can we do as a designer to keep the public safe in this new gun saturated environment?

Mar 9, 13 12:14 pm

It's been done before.

Mar 9, 13 12:22 pm  · 

Go to the man with the gun and shout in his ear "Fuck you, Mr. Small Dick mofo" and see what he does.

Mar 9, 13 12:25 pm  · 

Get a bigger gun.

Mar 9, 13 12:27 pm  · 

I think we will be looking at what they do in Israel they have borne the brunt of a lot of violent indiscriminant attacks and they have fortified their cities without going medieval, but they also had a lot of medieval infrastructure walls gates and tight winding streets, maybe there is a design lesson to learn here. Post medieval architecture may be the new trend.


Peter N

Mar 9, 13 12:31 pm  · 

beginning of an arms race? we're in the middle of one. but, you ask an important question, and one i am hearing more about, because of the work my firm does. more schools are asking, how do we protect ourselves from the non-custodial parent, the lone wolf, the islamic terrorist, the tea party  anti-government prepper....well perhaps not all of these, i mean, who would ever suspect an "prepper" going nuts, right?

Mar 9, 13 1:12 pm  · 

post medieval infrastructure

Look for expanded gated "communities" around high income residential neighborhoods and commercial areas, both urban and suburban, patrolled by armed security details. Service people will be carefully vetted for the work permits necessary to enter and will be and checked in and out on a rigorous schedule. The second level of "defense" will be personal bodyguards, video surveillance, hardened structures, etc.

Mar 9, 13 2:05 pm  · 

Gun nuts and new urbanism, all in one!

Mar 9, 13 2:36 pm  · 
I don't think we should really worry about it
Mar 9, 13 4:22 pm  · 
Bryan Finoki


Mar 12, 13 12:25 am  · 

Over on twitter Bryan Finoki of subtopia linked to this article by Thomas De Monchaux in New Yorker in response to my tweet about this thread. The piece focuses more on memory and monument within context of your question though not a pro-active fortification/built environment response.

Mar 12, 13 1:03 am  · 

i've heard about that in schools, and it's a bit different than medieval armament because you have contradictory purposes between a lock-down and emergency egress.  i'm sure i heard someone say they have to have double-keyed locks on classroom doors as a requirement from DHS or whoever, which is a violation of fire code since in the event of a fire you wouldn't be able to get out and turning a key would be against the 'easily graspable' part of ada that requires lever hardware.  that might not have been a well vetted source, but people are talking about lockdowns without a 'bigger picture' view.  in my high school we had classrooms separated by bookshelves. 

Mar 12, 13 9:59 am  · 

Securing public spaces is just an extension of the police state. This is not about protecting citizens, it is about dividing them. It is about perpetuating fear and increasing gun and ammunition sales, contracts for private security, the militarization of the domestic police force, fodder for the corporate prison complex, etc. etc.

Anyone who trades liberty for security will have neither.

The solution is not in the design of buildings but in the management of society. A country that spends a trillion dollars a year on foreign wars for corporate profit while gutting domestic social support systems can only expect collapse. Which is of course another way to generate profit though the mechanisms cited above.

Mar 12, 13 10:51 am  · 

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