Monday Morning Urbanism

From Friday's Economist

"The tighter security that has been in place in London since September 11th may have contributed to that. No city, however, can stop terrorists altogether. What can be said, though, is that terrorists are unable to stop cities, either. Perhaps an army, launching wave after wave of attacks, might succeed in doing so, especially if it were to deploy biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. Short of that, cities will always bounce back quickly, after the initial shock. They are resilient organisms, with powerful social and economic reasons to shrug off terrorism. New York and Madrid both show that, triumphantly."

We have observed two American terrorist events, and one in Europe, that supports this claim:

  1. Florence 1993. I arrived and went to my hotel. A bomb went off at the Uffizi a few hours later. I awoke to a crowded city of Florentines holding banners, signs, and buttons telling the terrorists to kiss off (sorry, Tropolism's translator is unavailable at the moment)
  2. Atlanta 1996. Evening, and I'd just flown into the city. My flight was late. My Atlantean friend picked me up. He asked if I wanted to go to the concert that night. I said no, I was too tired. The next morning, we woke up and heard that the concert we had skipped was the with the bomb. I expected all the midwesterners and southerners, non-urbane all, to stay at home. Instead, one after one, the folk interviewed said the same thing: this is our Olympics, our city, f*** off terrorists.
  3. September 11, 2001, NYC. People stopped what they were doing for days, weeks, and months on end, looking for a way to help out. And, of course, letting everyone know that this town was still ours, and we were all still here, living.


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