Backlash Against ‘Counter-Terrorism Design Competition’ Blows Up, Gets Big


We could tell that the UK government’s launch of the Counter-Terrorism Design Competition was going to create some complaints, so much so that we included some of the early dissent when we reported on it last week. And once again, our crystal ball was correct, as architect Piers Gough has come out against the “design out terrorism” contest publicly, bringing with him name designers and architects from places like Cambridge and the Glasgow School of Art. In their opinions, the contest does nothing more than foster a “culture of fear” and would pass the buck to citizens should some act of terrorism actually happen (essentially “You designed it, so don’t blame we government types for everything that went wrong!”). Here’s a bit:

“This creates an atmosphere of complete authoritarianism,” said Donald. “It can only have a negative effect both for designers, who find themselves subsumed by yet more regulations… and for society at large, which is increasingly forced to accommodate the culture of fear.

“Counterterrorism is being normalised as part of the design process. When you start fort-ifying public space like this, you wave goodbye to a free and open society.”