1st Edition

Terrorism, Risk and the City The Making of a Contemporary Urban Landscape

By Jon Coaffee Copyright 2003

    The development of defensive strategies encompassing the fortification and privatization of the city has attracted significant attention during recent years, and has become particularly relevant in the aftermath of September 11th. Dealing with issues of risk, security and the spatial restructuring of contemporary western cities, this book examines how the perceived risk of terrorist attack led to changes in the physical form and institutional infrastructure of the city of London during the 1990s when the city was a prime terrorist target. The book analyses how the various formal and informal strategies adopted in the City attempted to reduce both the physical and financial risk of terrorism. This was undertaken through a series of place-specific security initiatives and risk management policies which led to increased fortification, a substantial rise in terrorism insurance premiums, and, changing institutional relations at a variety of spatial scales. It also argues that the security measures deployed were developed not in terms of an anti-terrorist effort, but in relation to the unintended by-products of these approaches such as crime reduction and enhanced traffic management capabilities.

    Contents: Part I: Transforming Cities in the Age of Terrorism: Introduction: terrorism, risk and the City; Urban restructuring and the development of defensive landscapes; Controlling the security discourse in the postmodern City; Risk society and the global terrorist threat. Part II: The City of London's Response: Constructing and reinforcing the ring of steel; Distributing the financial risk of terrorism; Framing, legitimating and negotiating the City's response to terrorist risk. Part III: Terrorism, Risk and the Future City: Beating the bombers: a decade of counter terrorism in the City of London; Terrorism and future urbanism; Bibliography; Index.


    Jon Coaffee, Chair of Spatial Planning, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, UK

    ’Global terrorism has moved cities into the front-line of a battle with no boundaries and no visible enemies. This carefully researched book, with its focus on the activities of the Provisional IRA in London, provides valuable insight into the threat posed by terrorists and the responses available to the state. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the world’s major cities.’ John R. Gold, Oxford Brookes University, UK ’...essential reading for anyone seeking [to] grapple with the place of cities within today's never-ending states of emergency.’ Professor Stephen Graham, Newcastle University, UK ’There can be few security professionals who do not have the threat of terrorism on their list of risk factors. This book is therefore recommended without hesitation to anyone who has an interest in learning more about the impact of terrorism on the urban environment...you should take the time to read this book.’ Professional Security ’Innovative, interesting, indispensable ­ invest in a copy!’ Habitat ’...the work of Coaffee is most appreciated. The book gives a rich insight into many aspects of the London case...the book of Coaffee is rational in its analysis...’ disP ’This is an innovative book...brings together issues for those studying the built environment who may not have had cause nor reason in the past to study security related issues. This book would be just as relevant to a student in sociology, planning or modern history - such [are] the wide-ranging issues that it addresses...a well-written and researched book...anyone involved in urban planning, land use, design or management should purchase this book.’ CEBE Projects and Initiatives ’...excellent...the author’s examination of the London Corporation’s role in developing the Ring of Steel through the brokering of deals between Government and the insurance industry is a stark and timely example of risk society and its consequences.’ Journal of Cont