Urbanization: The Security State

Urbanization is the global trend whereby the world’s populations are concentrating in city living environments. The United Nations has predicted that by 2050 over 60% of the world’s population will live in an urban environment, with that being as high as 85% in developed countries. This trend away from rural living is a historical phenomenon dating back to the Industrial Revolution, when workers migrated to cities for factory work. Today, there are serious drawbacks to urbanization. One of these drawbacks is the increased threat of mass destruction due to the high concentration of people at urban events, including purposeful harm caused by terrorism. This leads to a related drawback, which is the increase of the security state and police presence in everyday life. Citizens are subjected to a level of control in the name of security that was not contemplated even a few decades ago, and the loss of privacy and freedom of movement due to this security state has changed the nature of how personal freedom is experienced, even in the Western democratic states. This photo reflects the duality of the security state, in terms of a protective police presence to ensure public safety at a mass event (in this case, joint federal, state and local security measures at the end of Broad Street by City Hall to enter the City Center perimeter in Philadelphia during the 2015 visit of Pope Francis) that is at the same time restrictive and controlling of public movement on a mass level.


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