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Designing Safe Spaces: How to Use Bollards and Wedge Barriers in Urban Planning

Enhancing both aesthetics and safety, security bollards and wedge barriers can blend seamlessly into urban spaces, ensuring safer and more welcoming environments.

Crash-Rated Bollards in Cityscape
Integrative Bollard Design


Urban spaces serve as vibrant hubs in communities, helping bring together people for events, entertainment, and business. With the evolution of our cities, security measures have increased in importance to safeguard the well-being of residents and visitors to the area. This article will cover the integral role of perimeter security in urban design and planning using bollards and wedge barriers.

Multi-functional urban bollards serving as benches, seamlessly blending security with public seating
Bollards: Design Blend Seating


Fixed Bollards

Fixed bollards are security posts that line sidewalks, areas where people gather, and the perimeter of buildings. Bollards play a role in not only guiding traffic and protecting pedestrians along roadways but, when done well, can add to the aesthetics of the area. By strategically lining bollards adjacent to buildings, walkways, and alleyways, a safe space can be created for all to enjoy.

In busy urban environments, fixed bollards play a crucial role in hostile vehicle mitigation for these areas. Vehicle attacks are far too common in busy downtown districts, and by intelligently delineating pedestrian zones and vehicle zones with the assistance of security design companies like Sloan Security Group, these areas can be safe places and reduce the risk of a fatal tragedy. Fixed bollards are available in various materials and designs, allowing city planners and architects to choose options that complement the architectural style of their surroundings.

Retractable bollards seamlessly integrate into urban design
Retractable Urban Access Solutions

Retractable Bollards

While traditional fixed bollards offer passive

protection, retractable bollards take urban security a step further by providing an active barrier solution. Retractable bollards can be raised or lowered as needed, allowing for controlled access to specific areas such as delivery, or emergency vehicles, like fire and paramedics. This adaptability strikes a balance between maintaining a welcoming urban environment and ensuring crash protection needs are met.

In high-traffic zones, such as shopping centers or event venues, retractable bollards can be integrated to be active during regular hours and be lowered to allow unrestricted movement of vehicles if needed. In the face of heightened security concerns at parades, farmers' markets, and other temporary events, retractable bollards are useful to create a crash-rated barrier, limit vehicular access, and mitigate potential security threats.

Wedge barrier seamlessly integrated into urban surroundings
Seamless Urban Design Integration

Wedge Barriers

Wedge barriers represent another innovative approach to perimeter security in urban design. These barriers are typically embedded in the ground and can be raised or lowered based on vehicle access security requirements. What sets wedge barriers apart is their ability to lie flush with the ground when not in use, providing a discreet solution that integrates smoothly into the urban environment.

The design of wedge barriers allows them to be customized to fit the characteristics of a particular space. Intended to be used only where vehicle blocking is the primary goal, they are not necessarily the most optimal choice when pedestrians will also be passing by. Retractable bollards are safer in this case because there are no entrapment zones.

Vehicle Vector Analysis
Vehicle Vector Analysis

Design Considerations

When designing for a high-activity area like a downtown district, it is common to overlook critical vulnerabilities and potential vehicle threats. Experienced security-specific designers can save time, and money, and make all the difference in the unfortunate chance of an attack or accident. Companies like Sloan Security Group can perform analysis before design and make recommendations based on their findings. These services could include:

  • Building Info Modeling (BIM)

  • Vehicle Vector Analysis

  • Risk Assessment Modeling

  • Ballistic Sightline Analysis

Wedge barrier seamlessly integrated into modern urban architecture, providing security
Urban Integration Safety Solution


In the ever-evolving landscape of urban design, it is essential to find the proper balance between safety, aesthetics, and accessibility. Bollards and wedge barriers are two solutions that enhance security and contribute to the overall aesthetic and functionality of urban spaces.

City planners and architects must carefully consider the specific needs of their communities when incorporating these security features. By thoughtfully integrating these elements into the urban fabric, we can create environments that prioritize safety without sacrificing the open and inviting nature that defines the spirit of our cities.

Sloan Security Group, Inc., a global leader in safe and effective perimeter security, can assist in the design and installation of these security measures for urban areas. Their expertise in vehicle barriers, access control, and intrusion detection aligns with the evolving needs of contemporary urban living. As we navigate the challenges of urban design, the integration of bollards and wedge barriers properly will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our cities. In doing so, we can ensure that our urban spaces remain vibrant, inclusive, and, above all, safe for generations to come.

If you need guidance, please contact us for a design assistance consultation from one of our security engineers.

About Sloan Security Group, Inc.  Sloan is quickly becoming the global leader in safe and effective perimeter security for distinctive brands and institutions such as Facebook, DoD, and DoS. Sloan specializes in crash-rated barriers, access control, and intrusion detection.



Media Contact

Terin Pickett


Sloan Security Group, Inc.

6828 W. Melrose St.

Boise, ID 83709


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