A Tale of Two Cities Smart and Smarter Buildings
Between 2010 and 2050 India is expected to add about 500 million to its 2011 urban population of 377 million. As urban centers of the future increase in population so will the demand for functionality on a multitude of levels. Most of the world is talking about how the capability exists to use the Internet of Things (IoT) in planning efficient modern city infrastructure systems and interconnecting a variety of “eco-systems”. We must ensure that conversation includes the design of secure buildings including the surrounding environment.
The Smart City – Building
Most buildings today are designed to be aesthetical pleasing and functional.Some new construction includes crime prevention through environmental design principles (CPTED) but the vast majority of projects don’t. And when they are, they certainly arenot designed to reduce the effects of terrorist attack. Buildings and neighborhoods should be designed to include mitigation strategies that deter criminal activity and reduce the effects of man-made threats.
Moreover, according to 6Wresearch, a research and consulting firm, the India video surveillance market is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth of over 13 percent between 2016 and 2022 and the Indian electronic security market to reach US$ 2.31 billion by 2018.
But just adding cameras is not the solution; we must design the inhabited space and make it work to our advantage.
The Smarter City – Building
Smarter cities will include smarter buildings. Not only buildings with the latest technologies so that electronic technologies can talk with each other, provide data analytics and provide a safer environment for residents but also designed in such a way as to deter and or prevent criminal activity, including those that cause mass casaulties. Designing aesthetically pleasing and functional buildings will not be enough. Buildings must incorporate concepts, such as, CPTEDand other mitigation strategies that reduce the effects of man-made threats, especially those that are extremely violent. By shaping the built environment and integrating security solutions, both physical and technological, Smart Cities planners can create neighborhoods where people actually want to work, live and raise their families – not because they’re efficient but because they’re safe.
Getting Stakeholder Buy-in an Essential Step
The normal process for designing buildings goes something like this; a requirement is formed, then an architect is contacted, some designs are drawn up based on the functionality or proposed use for the building, the owner approves the visual, and then the engineers go to work putting together all of the detailed drawing that ultimately will incorporate the owners desires and the architect’s concept and…voila’ a building is born.
Sure there are varying steps where the stakeholders (functional area experts) may have some input, but for the most part, they are limited to the parameters outlined by the design team. Consequently, their input is limited to, “Let’s put an electrical outlet there or a door here”. They really have very limited input as to the structural design of the building.
And finally in the process, the security team gets called in almost as an afterthought. This causes the engineers to scramble to redesign the electrical grid and other facets of the building to accommodate “newly” added security equipment; such as, intrusion detection systems or access control technology. Sometimes, but rarely can the security team have enough influence to affect the changing of a wall or the removal of a recessed doorway.
With this scenario in mind, the first order of business is to ensure the design team includes everyone from the very beginning; i.e., architects, engineers, owners, occupants, security and building management – everyone.
With everyone included from the on-set, the second issue of beginning the process with everyone “on the same page” becomes redundant, due to everyone’s “buy in” of the Design Basis Threat (DBT) from the start. This keeps modifications to the project to a minimum; thereby, reducing additional costs and delays.
Using Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) as the Basis of Design
One DBT concept that’s been around since the early ‘90s and has been effectively employed is Crime Prevention through Environmental Design or CPTED.
We must go beyond designing the exterior environment to reduce the effects of terrorist attack, in particular “the use of ballistic weapons and improvised explosive devices”. While CPTED may assist in deterring and preventing most types of criminal behavior, active shooter and improvised explosive device incidents, will need a different approach due to their inherent violence.
Let’s look at a couple design philosophies for the active shooter first. We’ve been teaching “RUN-HIDE-FIGHT” for a number of years now. Incidents in Orlando and Istanbul indicate that hiding is not an effective strategy. We must design spaces so that there are always two options for escape. It will take time for architects to embrace this concept for new building design and it will take even longer to modify existing high occupancy buildings. With that in mind, there are three ideas that I believe can be incorporated immediately for new construction and during major renovation projects for existing buildings.
First, design spaces to restrict the freedom of movement of the shooter (Similar to the idea of “bulkheads” in ships to reduce the spread of fire or flooding). Currently active shooter protocols require staff to herd everyone into a space such as a backroom but the space doesn’t offer protection. So our second solution is to retrofit retail storerooms, designated office spaces within high occupancy spaces, bathrooms or closets, with ballistic resistance. There are companies making “plug and play” safe-havens that can be installed and there is ballistic material available that can be attached to existing walls.
And thirdly, in all high occupancy spaces install ballistic resistance in furniture; i.e., chairs, desks, tables, office panels, etc. so people have a chance to hide behind something.
Now the second threat – the improvised explosive device, either vehicle borne or handheld. This becomes a little more complicated because of blast effects. Unless very near the explosion people are not affected by the blast itself, instead they are injured or killed because the environment around them wasn’t design to resist the blast pressures.
Beyond CPTED Concepts
With that in mind, we should implement five antiterrorism strategies for high occupancy buildings; maximize stand-off distances, reduce flying debris hazards, prevent progressive collapse, limit airborne contamination and provide mass notification.
Implementing Parameters or “Triggers”
Since it would just be too costly and inefficient to implement new standards in all buildings or try to go back and retrofit everything, we will need to establish “triggers” or parameters for implementation. I believe those “triggers” could be initiated for all new construction with an implementation date of as soon as we can pass ordinances requiring this new approach. For existing buildings, implement these new standards during major construction projects when the project costs exceed 50% or more of the plant value cost of the building, or when changing the floor space by 50% or more, or when changing the usage of the structure from uninhabited space to high occupancy space.
Additionally, not all spaces should incorporate Antiterrorism standards. We should concentrate our efforts on high occupancy spaces (> 50 people) and not worry about uninhabited or low occupancy spaces (< 10 people).
By bringing everyone together at the beginning and agreeing on the design basis threat, and incorporating the aforementioned design strategies, the effects of criminal activity can be reduced and the people protected. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Safeguarding the Nation
India is expected to emerge as the world’s 3rd largest construction market by 2020 by adding 11.5 million homes every year, in addition, to thousands of government and public buildings. It would be a real shame to miss the opportunity to address tomorrow’s threats as we modernize. By addressing future threats today, we can keep short term cost lower and reduce the long term costs of maintenance and personnel significantly. Those savings can be passed on to other projects.
Building security into smart cities isn’t just crucial from a citizen safety perspective but also for safeguarding national integrity.
For Smart City planners the question should be, “Would I want my grandkids to live here”?