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Florence Turns Flower Pots Into Public Safety Solution

The city of Florence, Italy, wants to avoid using bollards like the ones pictured above, which were added to the plaza of the Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City, Missouri, after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. (AP Photo/Kelley McCall)

Acts of terror leave a distinctive mark on the built environment — not just in the form of placards and memorials, but in security features like checkpoints or metal bollards the size of cars.

The city of Florence, Italy, wants to prioritize public safety without giving in to militarized design. Following vehicular attacks in Barcelona, London, Nice and Berlin, Italian architect Stefano Boeri began voicing concerns about the barriers that were being installed around public spaces in those cities, Dezeen reports. Now, Florence Mayor Dario Nardella has announced that Boeri’s proposal to use trees and planters, rather than bollards, as barriers will be implemented.

“The safety of these places is urgent and appropriate, but we cannot allow safety to transform thousands of squares and public spaces in Europe to become sites of barriers and concrete blocks, as if they were military checkpoints,” Boeri said in a statement, according to Dezeen.

“We must not give in to the blackmail of terrorists and let our city be turned into military bunkers,” Nardella said. “I think Florence has a responsibility to embody the role of a symbolic city, where we must combine the security of our citizens with the beauty of the city.”

Boeri has proposed that street furniture, including benches and bicycle racks, act as barriers around public spaces as well, stating that those elements would encourage public gatherings.