International praise, but a slow grind at home

Norwegian security publications are acknowledged internationally, while domestically we are more concerned with the conception that it is impossible to secure.

Foto:Arne Røed Simonsen

Foto:Arne Røed Simonsen

Post 22. July and with a rapidly changing threat situation all over Europe, one would think good initiatives in security would be in demand. But no, we are still considering it.

As a consequence of the worst attack at the Norwegian society post WWII, we are building a new government precinct. Cities expand and constriction is booming, and security is hardly a theme in important educations such as architecture and city planning.

Those who point out the need to secure public places are partially met with “it is impossible to secure oneself a hundred percent”, “we mustn’t build walls” or “we don’t want to create fear”. If the topic is environment and living city spaces, it is easier to get positive attention.

It is important the Norwegian debate recognizes security, environment and living city spaces aren’t necessarily conflicting themes. By introducing the understanding of security in the relevant educational institutions, they may reinforce each other, and thus provide real security, a pleasant aesthetic experience and at the same time be sustainable. 

The book «The City Between Freedom and Security», which is a cooperation between the Norwegian National Security Authority, the Police Security Service and Bergen Architecture College, has proven this point. The Norwegian Business Security Council and several others have through articles, interviews and lectures tried to disseminate this message. As of now we are at “interesting”. Conversely, in Germany a jury of peers and the German Architectural Museum (DAM), has acknowledged the book as one of the tem most significant publications in architecture published this year.

2017 DAM Architectural Book Award was awarded 11th October.

At the same time the new Norwegian standard, NS5834 Societal security – protection against unwanted willful acts – planning and security measures in building, constructuction and property, was launched. The standard was well received by its peers in Norway, but gained recognition also abroad.

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