FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The New Battle for Ground Zero

It's hard to imagine a topic that fills so many Americans with so much passion as the future of Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center that was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. Presently, the official plan is to replace the Twin Towers with "Freedom Tower," a gossamer glass and steel structure that would be one of the tallest in the world when complete. According to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's website, construction plans for Freedom Tower are on schedule despite recent safety and security concerns and need for a partial redesign.

Because feelings about Ground Zero reconstruction run so deep, many disagree with the Freedom Tower concept even at this late date. Donald Trump, for one, is not a fan; "The last thing we need in New York is a skeleton representing the World Trade Center," he says. "I think it's not an appropriate design."

Engineers Kenneth Gardner and Herbert Belton likewise disagree with Freedom Tower... so much so that they have proposed their own design for "Twin Towers II." Simply put, they propose to rebuild the towers almost exactly as they were before the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, but with structural reinforcements, better fireproofing and more and wider stairwells.

The new towers would be built adjacent to, rather than on top of, the original towers' "footprints"; those would be incorporated into a 9/11 memorial.

Those pressing for rebuilding the Twin Towers count Trump and former New York Mayor Ed Koch among their supporters. As we move through the summer and approach yet another Sept. 11 anniversary, the controversy will only grow louder. Is it too late for the Twin Towers II supporters to alter the LMDC's plans? We'll see.