A lot of talk has been made regarding the future of Ground Zero. It's a safe bet to say that it will be rebuilt. The questions are only
what, and not
if. The one thing that no one seems to be talking about is
what will be built there. Some have suggested rebuilding the twin towers just as they were. Others have not. The Port Authority of New Jersey released their 6 schemes earlier this year. I think it's safe to say that they were nearly unanimously rejected by the public.
I came across this rather intresting site that fervently suggests that they should be rebuilt the way they were. It's a pretty strong argument that covers all sides of the issue (monetary, memorial, national pride) Can anyone think of an equally strong opposing and methodical argument against it?
So what is the current status of redevelopment plans?
Reasons to rebuild
Why Rebuilding the Twin Towers is Sound Economically
1. The foundation already exists and was designed specially for the Twin Towers. There probably is not a need to re-fit or change the foundation other than to repair compromised sections, a job being performed as the debris field is cleared. Since foundation work is often the longest phase of any building process, rebuilding the Towers can be completed more expeditiously than building a different complex.
2. The Twin Towers will re-claim over 10,000,000 square feet of column-free office space. The smaller surrounding buildings could be rebuilt larger and create even more office space. This will restore 100,000 jobs to Lower Manhattan.
3. The Twin Towers will restore revenues from tourism; in fact revenues should increase. Tourists will flock to the observation deck, bringing substantial income in the form of viewing fees, souvenirs, food, and other merchandise. This is all subject to sales taxes, which will help state and city coffers as well. On clear days, even after the attack, tourists flock to the Empire State Building, as they did before. Tourists probably wouldn’t seek out four buildings that are simply an office complex. The proposed four 55-story complex proposed by Larry Silverstein and the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation will not feature an observation deck as there are taller buildings around. Even the Woolworth Building is taller than the proposed complex. The loss of observation deck revenue, as well as the loss of revenue from souvenirs and other merchandise related to the Towers is substantial. According to the Port Authority, 150,000 tourists visited the observation deck each day. Sales taxes were collected on the $9 viewing fee. That is $40 million per year, just on taxes from viewing fees.
4. Nothing has been said about the shopping complex that was housed underneath and east of the Towers. Sale of merchandise equals sales taxes.
Non-Economic Reasons to Rebuild
1. Building anything shorter, or smaller than the Twin Towers is tantamount to kneeling to terrorism. No terrorist organization has the right to dictate building heights or what a skyline should look like and how ideals, hopes, and dreams should be compromised. Whatever is built at the WTC site will send a message around the world. What message do we want that to be? The world is watching how we chose to move forward. This is very much a world concern
2. The Twin Towers were a national monument, just like the White House, Capitol, Statue of Liberty and many other unique places in the US. Nearly every nation in the world has what it considers national monuments. Who does not know that Big Ben is in London, England; the Eiffel Tower, in Paris; the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin; the Kremlin, in Moscow; the Taj Mahal in India? The Twin Towers were recognized in every nation, and every little hamlet throughout the world. The evidence of this is undeniable. Many cities in the US, and indeed the world have landmarks preservation committees, whose function is to preserve these local and national monuments. Not even the most extreme people against rebuilding would argue that the Twin Towers were not a national monument. Without exception, most people would argue that any national monument destroyed should be rebuilt and restored like the original. Even Afghanistan is restoring its national monuments... the giant statues of Buddha destroyed by the Taliban not that long ago. From the standpoint of landmark preservation and restoring a national monument, there is plenty of reason to rebuild the Twin Towers. A structure that is a national monument is not necessarily economical to operate. Such is the nature of these trophy structures. The Twin Towers were unique in that apart from being a national monument, they were occupied commercial spaces... and businesses happily paid top dollar to operate there.
3. In virtually every public opinion poll, either in print or on the Internet, the public has shown support for rebuilding by a significant majority. The number is usually around 70% depending on the poll sample. We are a democracy and should be comfortable in voicing our concerns and opinions about rebuilding.
4. Our military headquarters, the Pentagon is already being rebuilt. Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2003. Portions will be completed by September 11, 2002... the first year anniversary of the attack, and people will be working in the same offices. Is the Pentagon any less sacred ground, or less of a target than the Twin Towers? The Pentagon is only five stories tall. Yet, there is no controversy surrounding its rebuild operation.
5. The best memorial is not a tombstone, nor is it erasing what was there. The best memorial just might be a living one. A restored Twin Towers or even a better version.
6. The Twin Towers, in ways big and small, were part of the fabric of many people's personal lives. Rebuilding will heal the wounds of many.
The Twin Towers were born of the space age. During their construction, man walked on the moon, and supersonic travel became reality. In 15 short years, Space Shuttle flights became the norm and the computer revolution was re-defining how the world does business. When the Twin Towers were built, we aimed high and took to the sky and beyond. Today, in the Twenty-First Century we are faced with a decision. We can continue to fly high by rebuilding the Twin Towers, or we can conform to views who don’t believe as we do.
Do you want the Twin Towers rebuilt
exactly as they were???
We are advocating that the Twin Towers be rebuilt as two 110-story (or greater) buildings mirroring the original Yamasaki design in terms of aesthetics and the exoskeleton design, offset from each other; built at a minimum of 1362 and 1368 feet tall respectively with a TV antenna placed on Tower One. We advocate that they feature the following safety enhancements and modifications:
Fireproof ceramic polymer coatings applied to all columns and members that will not be removed easily;
Sprinkler systems using foam.
I-beams or cast reinforced concrete instead of trusses for floor support;
Stairwell walls made out of concrete, reinforced with rebar, rather than drywall;
Compliance exceeding City of New York fire and building codes;
Bio-terrorism sensors in the HVAC system;
More environmentally friendly construction.
Safety and Life Systems
Aren't Tall Buildings in General Dangerous?
Some people allege that tall buildings are unsafe. Part of the basis for their argument is that a ladder truck or cherry picker cannot reach upper floors...in fact seven floors is usually the limit for this apparatus. Large commercial office buildings have several stairwells to permit egress. Unfortunately in the case of the Twin Towers, those stairwells were cut when the attack planes hit. The attacks of 9/11 were quite unusual, and no architect or engineer could have planned for it.
The Twin Towers were poorly and negligently constructed. They did not meet NYC fire codes.
We hear this argument frequently, and sadly it is a mis-conception that has taken on a life of its own. The Twin Towers met and in many cases, exceeded both Port Authority and New York City fire and building codes at the time of their construction some 35 years ago. The FDNY, and many safety groups gave their approval on the buildings. Fire and building codes, have of course been updated significantly since then. The Twin Towers were designed to take the impact of a Boeing 707 with half a tank a fuel traveling at 200 knots...in other words, an accident.
They were not designed to take an impact from a Boeing 767 with 10,000+ gallons of Jet A rammed in at speeds nearing 600 knots (Tower 2). Aeronautical engineers were surprised that the planes did not break apart from this high-speed flight in the dense atmosphere near sea level. Despite these impacts, the Twin Towers stood for well over an hour, saving nearly 30,000 lives. Civilians killed were located almost exclusively above the crash lines, where stairwells were cut by the plane impacts. Below the impact points, emergency workers were sent into the buildings teetering on collapse by their superiors, and with digital radios known to have signal problems. The issues surrounding the rescue operation were well documented in the NY Times series "Deadly Flaws in Rescue Plan" and elsewhere.
The Twin Towers like any other commercial office building had fire suppression systems designed to fight wood and paper fires, as well as electrical. Since it is not a reasonable expectation to have thousands of gallons of petroleum products burning inside an office building, the Twin Towers were not designed to handle this type of fire, and certainly not designed for a petroleum fire raging through 10 or more floors. Civilians will not work in a structure designed to have large quantities of petro-chemicals burning within.
The American Society of Civil Engineers bestowed their Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award upon the Twin Towers in 1971. OCEA Awards are not given for ordinary buildings, and are certainly not given for buildings which don't meet basic fire and building codes.
What is your basis for saying the Twin Towers were soundly constructed?
Numerous professional engineers who have studied the buildings said they performed better than expected. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a report on May 1, exonerating the Twin Towers, but suggesting that reinforced stairwells and better fireproofing methods be used in any large structure. We've incorporated these suggestions in our advocacy to rebuild. The American Society of Civil Engineers contributed to that report.
The FEMA report is hogwash. I'm waiting for the two-year report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
We believe NIST will come to the same conlcusion FEMA did. The mechanics of why the Twin Towers collapsed were documented by the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, Nova, PBS, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, as well as FEMA. It is common knowldge that the buildings collapsed because the blast from impact of the plane crashes blew fireproofing off the steel columns and members; burning JetA set other combustibles ablaze; and raised temperatures to nearly 2000 degrees Fahrenheit; the steel buckled, triggering a straight-down progressive collapse.
I don't ever want to see the Twin Towers that murdered my husband.
While we understand the grief driving the statement, the buildings did not have the intelligence of making a pre-meditated decision to collapse on their occupants on 9/11/01. The murderers were bin Laden, and Al Qaida, and that's where any anger should be focused....it's the whole reason why we are at war. The buildings performed better than could be expeced for the forces they were subjected to.
Safety from Terrorism
Working In Tall Buildings -- "No one will work there"
It's paradoxical that the majority of the public when polled wants the original Twin Towers back, but "no one will work there." Our petition calls for the Twin Towers to be re-erected at least as tall if not taller, with enhancements and modifications to make them safer. Sprinkler systems using the same foam used to put out aircraft fires on runways; wider, more fireproof stairwells; special coatings applied to steel to make it resist extreme temperatures beyond its normal melting point are some of the technologies available today.
The Twin Towers were only part of the 9/11 plot of destruction. The Pentagon, a mere 5 stories tall had an entire side destroyed and 200+ people killed. One of the hijacked planes that crashed in PA was going to be used as a kamikaze bomb against the White House or the Capitol, also low-slung buildings. Shall we abandon the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, John Hancock Tower, The Library Tower, Trans America Building, and others? Shall we build nothing higher than 5 or 6 floors?
China is set to build a skyscraper in 2007 that will be the new tallest building the world. The current record-holder is now the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, an interesting structure, also twins, but with no where near the number of floors or square footage of the former Twin Towers. China is not stopping this construction because "no one will work there."
The Twin Towers Were Targets
This is the most common objection to rebuilding. New York City and the rest of the United States is rich with "targets." Any landmark or place where large amounts of people gather is a "target." Just as a reminder, the "Landmarks Plot," intended for a bomb to be set off in the Lincoln Tunnel, the Empire State Building and the Manhattan Federal Building, and the Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn subway station to knock as many subway lines out of service as possible. The plot was foiled and forgotten. Two of the targets were the subterranean variety, not the skyscraper type. Not building "targets" in order to appease terrorists is probably not the answer. Perhaps as a country we would do better to review our policies, improve communication among various agencies, and utilize technologies we already have to prevent terrorist attacks.
Support A Memorial?
Absolutely we do! Human decency dictates that a memorial be built, and there is plenty of room at the site for a memorial to co-exist with a rebuilt Twin Towers.
Support Making The Entire Site A Memorial Park?
We want to say that human decency dictates that a memorial be included with anything that is built at the WTC site. There are several reasons why we don’t think it’s a good idea to support making the entire site a memorial park: Such an idea memorializes the terrorists' deeds, more so than the victims who are intended to be memorialized. Leaving the world's most valuable real estate idle will have a devastating effect on the New York City economy. Far from being sacred, a memorial park will be a Circus Maximus, where tourists will descend daily to shoot photos and videotapes, buying schlock from street vendors. This is precisely the atmosphere at the site now where the viewing platforms are. When years have passed and the novelty of being at "Ground Zero" wears off, the only effect will be the devastation of downtown Manhattan. New York City has several memorial spaces which have been long forgotten and neglected.
Does Team Twin Towers Support A Specific Memorial?
We feel a specific design for a memorial is best left to the victims' families in coordination with a professional memorial designer.
If you build on that site, you're building on my loved one's grave.
Societies since time immemorial have established funerary practices and protocols. We don't leave human remains at the spots where people have passed on, because such a practice does not respect property rights and is counter to the public good. Imagine roads, streets, public and private buildings pockmarked with private burial grounds, everytime someone died. This practice would rapidly result in entire cities being unusable, and would make conditions quite unpleasant for the living. Every society has designated cemeteries and other appropriate means for handling the interment of remains; even when there are no remains left, there are established protocols for this circumstance.
The WTC site is NOT a private cemetery and is NOT designated as a burial ground. The question of whether we would build on someone's grave is specious. We don't build on designated cemeteries, because such land was allocated specifically for that purpose. Eight people died at the WTC site when it was being built during on-the-job accidents. Their remains are NOT interred there. What makes them any less valuable than those killed on 9/11?
The simple reason is that the WTC site is public property allocated for commerce. The public good...the needs of over 12 million people who live in the region, indeed the needs of some 300 million people who live in this nation dictate that the Twin Towers be rebuilt. Team Twin Towers, Inc. has no argument with the need to memorialize the victims of 9/11, but we do have an issue with fanatical memorial practices that do not consider the needs of the living.