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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Should the twin towers be rebuilt?
The twin towers of the World Trade Center were landmarks of the New York skyline until they were razed to the ground in the terrorist attacks.
As the rescue effort to find survivors now fades, there are differing views on what should happen when the site is finally cleared.
The leaseholder of the land on which they stood says something should be built on the site. Some people believe the towers should be rebuilt just as they were.
Others say that would be insensitive and would prefer the area to be made into memorial gardens.
Do you think the towers should be rebuilt as they were? Should the area be a place of respect and remembrance? Would you feel you could work in or visit a new tower block there?
Matthew Shannon, UK
Who would want to rent office space in the rebuilt towers? Who could work with that terrible memory around them?
The WTC was there for a reason so I would suspect that at least one new building will be erected, but they mustn't forget about the people who lost their lives. Maybe the ground floor could be a memorial floor with plaques carrying all the names of the people who perished.
I think the towers should be rebuilt, either with more floors or the same number of floors as the original building. This will send a message to terrorist that they cannot stop the American way of life - they cannot bring America to her knees. A memorial can be built somewhere around the building for those who lost their lives during the attack.
Yes rebuild them, but of all those who are pro-rebuilding, only three so far have talked about making the towers safer so evacuation can be quicker. The new design should ensure that if there's a major fire dividing floors then the people trapped above it have half a chance- though I'll concede that would be a major engineering and design challenge. The quartet of towers is an equally good idea, which would leave room for a memorial.
It is nonsensical to suggest replacing the towers twenty five years later just to reinstate the skyline and give a V-sign to terrorists. You have to look at the office requirements of a totally different working environment - one where people might be less keen to work in buildings which have no means of safe and rapid evacuation in emergencies, short of walking down 110 flights of stairs.
There is an argument for saying that no building should be higher than the longest ladder carried by the fire service.
Mike F, Canada
I would try to incorporate some kind of a broad based pyramid structure into the design. The pyramid shaped Transamerica tower in San Francisco has survived earthquakes in the past without incurring any serious damage. Also, owing to its shape, fewer people would be able to work on the top storey and more people closer to the base of the building so in the event of an emergency evacuation would probably be a lot quicker.
Given that the towers were not insured to anything like the cost of rebuilding them, who will pay? Unless the American government intervenes, it simply will not be possible to build any of the things suggested by some correspondents here.
Tim, USA (ex-UK)
All the talk about no-fly zones and anti-aircraft missiles makes me wonder if people wouldn't rather a military base in place of the towers. It seems to me that the more you try to make the replacement bigger, better and stronger the more likely it is to be a target. Building a big impressive replacement may be a satisfying slap in the face of terrorism but we have to remember that people will be working in a new target. Those additions will also make it more expensive to build and maintain. The land may be worth a bundle but it will be years until many people will be comfortable working there, especially if the replacements are tall.
There definitely should be some type of memorial whether or not a new office complex is built. People may or may not visit the place where their loved ones are buried but it is comforting to know that they are buried in a place that is being cared for. To not have a memorial is an insult to the over 6,000 people who have died and are still buried at Ground Zero and an insult their families and friends.
If there is a move to rebuild the WTC in a form as high as before - why not have the buildings joined or arched in support of each other and the arch be in the form of a memorial arch?
I watched the towers being built as a kid in Brooklyn and I know people who were killed working in them on September 11. If those towers are not rebuilt, I'll loose even more than I have already. The decision won't be made in the UK, India or anywhere but New York. I am absolutely convinced that the majority of New Yorkers from all walks of life will demand structures of greater stature. Those who suggest the US should take this occasion to think about those who have suffered due to some US policy are guilty of extremely poor judgment and of providing moral support to the attackers. Repent of these ideas before your moral support subtly encourages others to act on your behalf. America did not deserve this attack. The US as a nation is and has been the greatest agent of good the world has ever known.
First and foremost, this is a human tragedy but let's not forget that the loss of these great structures is also an environmental tragedy. The twin towers were a beautiful pair of buildings. I would be all in favour of having the towers, or something similar to them rebuilt in their place. Cities like Beirut and Belfast that have suffered repeatedly at the hands terrorism have been rebuilt bigger and better. The Europa Hotel in Belfast has been bombed in excess of 20 times in the last 30 years, mainly because it is prominent in the city's skyline and terrorists wanted to breed fear and terror in the local population. The WTC was targeted for partly the same reason and so it, like the Europa, should be rebuilt stronger and tougher than before. I hope the WTC's foundations will still be able to support a large building after this disgusting and barbaric act.
Daniel A Keltz, Brooklyn, New York, USA
I think that the towers ought to be rebuilt and made bigger and better. The New York skyline was unique and it need not be dragged down by these acts of terror. A memorial also ought to be built as a sign of respect for those who lost their lives. By not rebuilding we're sending a message to these terror organisations that they have won, when they certainly have not.
I think that we must rebuild the twin towers to show that the United States and the western world is strong. We are certainly stronger than these terrorists and we will show it.
The attack on the twin towers was a plan to destroy the right of freedom and put fear into the hearts of innocent Americans. Many people have died for the fight for freedom and those who died in this tragedy must be remembered as part of that struggle.
America must live on and be strong to achieve this freedom but must demonstrate it in more effective ways than simply rebuilding the towers.
The towers must be rebuilt at the same site so that it will erase the impact that has been left on the minds of people in America and the world as a whole.
The land should remain a memorial park forever.
James, North Wales
No. Do not rebuild. The buildings were not aesthetically appealing in the first place. Too overpowering of the skyline, too austere and monolithic. Sacrifice the ground in memory of the suffering of those who died there, like the Pearl Harbor Memorial. To do less is un-American, would not honour the suffering America has experienced, and would purely represent greed for the money that could be made by rebuilding on the land.
Imran Farooqui, Indian in Saudi
The WTC should be rebuilt, but not as four buildings. When the terrorists hit the towers, and the Pentagon, their main goal was not to kill people. They wanted to do something that they knew would inflict fear on America. They picked two buildings that represented the strength of America. When we saw the WTC collapse, and thousands of people die, the terrorists saw America being paralysed by fear: airports closing, people crying, mass evacuations, and the shut down of our economy. I am sure that they are very happy that they killed thousands and thousands of people, but they are most happy that they destroyed our feeling of safety. Therefore, what we rebuild in response is very important.
On the other hand, we owe those people who died a proper dedication. It is directly because of those office workers that our nation, and many others around the world are taking serious action to make our lives safe against acts like those that occurred in New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. If we do rebuild the WTC with the main thought in our mind being that of fear, then we will have built an anti-memorial. The four-building trade center would stand there in New York, our greatest city, saying to America that we will go ahead and let those office workers die serving the terrorist's purpose of making us afraid.
This is a wonderful web site. I believe that the horrific act at the WTC would be even more tragic if we submitted our will to the terrorists who committed this crime against humanity. The WTC should indeed be rebuilt. Not in the same shape, and with a beautiful memorial as a tribute to the victims and their families. If we didn't rebuild on every part of the world where someone has perished, the entire world would be a graveyard.
Philip S Hall, Northampton, UK
If there were going to be a memorial park to be built, where would the people working there have to go in order to continue their job? The other day, I watched news on TV about those who have lost their offices. They are alive but are in great despair. They lost friends, co-workers, computers, documents and everything.
Please give them a place to work again as soon as possible.
I believe that whatever choice we make will be the right one. Seeing everyone's arguments about whether they should or should not be re-erected is just not important. Let's ask the loved ones of the lost and see what they think. Let's take a tally and do what is right for the ones who are in pain right now. I hope that the new feeling of unity and pride can be kept for generations to come and we do not revert back to the selfish nature most people came from. And for God's sake, let's not make this all about money.
Chris Klein, UK
The US citizens must rise to the occasion and think in the direction of rebuilding the towers the way they stood there before the deadly strikes. By working in the same place and re-establishing day-to-day business activities, American citizens will be able to pay rich tributes to those who succumbed to the horrific terror unleashed by a handful evil-doers. These uncivilised fanatics should not be allowed to disengage the citizens of the world's greatest nation from performing their normal duties and enjoying the benefits of freedom.
I understand from the CNN reports that 20% of the office space in New York was within the World Trade Centre. Hence, I believe that market pressures will force something to be built there as this is prime real estate.
People talk about "the remains of human beings within their foundations", but this is quite incorrect as the site would have to be completely cleared before any further construction could take place.
Many people would feel uneasy about working over the site of such a disaster. But I feel the only fitting tribute to those who perished would be a new tower, perhaps named The Memorial Tower.
I don't think that we should re-build the same structures on the site of the old towers. It would always be a sad place that looked like it tried to forget the past. I honestly believe that a new business park that incorporates a memorial centre should be built, and that it should be done with the input from the families of those we lost. People will need to grieve for a very long time to come and the site for those people should be a peaceful, calming, welcoming place. The developed site of the WTC towers should never stand as an 'up yours' to terrorists - we can build that one somewhere else.
If they were not rebuilt, that wouldn't be yielding to terrorism. It would just be learning from what happened. It's brave to stand up to aggression, but insisting on making everything exactly the way it was before is just obstinate. A building that size is asking for trouble, whether from attacks or fires, earthquakes or who knows what other calamity. Maybe they should be replaced by buildings of a more reasonable size, or just by something - such as a park - to make people stop and think and remember that we came from dust and to dust will return.
A memorial garden is just what the terrorists want. Let us not give them such a trophy. The space must be used for work and getting back to business not self-pity. Rebuild the towers! This is not the end of the skyscraper. There are simply too many around already.
There should be new buildings, but not the WTC. Build a new urban village with a park, office space, shops and affordable housing.
To re-build is to move on in your life not to re-live it.
You can look to the past but you live in the present.
Absolutely. The towers should be rebuilt. Should look the same but be taller! And if a memorial such as a stained glass window is included in the design, I'd make a contribution. People from many countries of the world, including my own two countries, Jamaica and Canada, were murdered at the WTC. The world cannot yield to fanatical mass murderers. In Jamaica we have a saying; "Two wrongs do not make a right." No matter what the grievances, real or imagined, absolutely nothing justifies what was done. So rebuild the towers. As an act of defiance, as a symbol of courage, as a symbol of civilization. When the WTC is rebuilt, I will open an office there.
David, New York City, NY
The site should not become a memorial garden. The money paid out by the insurers should be used to build something new. A memorial of some sort, visible from afar, can be erected on top if need be.
Real estate values in Lower Manhattan will dictate what is built on the site of the WTC
The Americans should build something more amazing than the Twin Towers. They were a focal point of NY and were recognisable as a NY trademark. They should show the attackers that the American way of building something bigger and better than the rest hasn't changed. The new building should, though, pay tribute to those who lost their lives and could incorporate a memorial garden as someone has suggested, similar to the courtyard that existed before where all of the people used to gather at lunchtime and then hopefully they can gather again to remember friends who are no longer here.
My answer to the question on whether the Twin Towers should be re-built has to be no, no, no!
This place should become a place of remembrance and reflection for the entire world to remember the horrors we do to each other. We don't need to wallow but everyone, including Islam, needs to reflect on what happened on the day they fell.
Hopefully we will learn from the restraint that has been shown to date that we cannot live the way we have done in the past.
Bob, New York City
Rebuild them taller than they were before. Nothing would say "the heck with you, Bin Laden" better than a pair of rebuilt Twin Towers, gleaming in the New York skyline.
While rebuilding the towers would certainly send the message "We will not fall to fear," I feel that identical towers would only serve as a horrid reminder to all those who lost loved ones in the attack.
In Manchester, UK, the city's largest shopping centre was destroyed by a terrorist bomb. Since then, a better, more modern shopping centre has been built on the same site.
This redevelopment gave a real psychological boost to the people of Manchester, and created a sense of unity and community. The enduring effect of this is a sense that the community overcame terrorism, not the other way around. I think it's vitally important that the same approach is taken in New York.
Graham Harris Graham, Scotland
Perhaps a memorial with the names of each innocent person killed by American and UK bombs around the world, alongside the names of those who died. Perhaps that would add a much needed sense of reality to this horror.
Rebuild, but with a radically different design - linking the towers (perhaps 4) with numerous walkways. That would allow more and alternative evacuation routes from the buildings. Regardless of what happened on 11th September, 3hrs to evacuate a building is unacceptable.
Let's build something new as a symbol of our hope for the future.
Shaun, Teignmouth, UK
I think we should build four brick or stone buildings of 50 stories each on the site, surrounding a park with a granite memorial to the victims. The buildings should house many international companies, representing the many nations who lost people in this attack. We must not give in to our fears, nor tempt other terrorist attacks by rebuilding exact replicas of the WTC.
I am an American who lives six miles from Ground Zero, NYC. I worked in the World Trade Center several years ago, on the 80th floor of the North Tower. It seemed crazy when I took the elevator every day for such a long ride up - like a vertical subway train, and holding about as many people. At least on land if the subway stops running you can travel on the surface. But in a huge skyscraper, you cannot get to the ground until you've travelled down the stairs, which from a high floor can take one hour. I do not think skyscrapers are safe for those who work in them, or for the fire-fighters who must go up into them when they are burning. It seems unconscionable to ask a fire-fighter or police person to go into a tall building when it is in danger of collapse.
Ray, NYC, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright designed a huge, spectacular multi-faith cathedral for lower Manhattan that was never built. Given that people from around the world died there on September 11th and that the terrorists sought to divide faiths, why not build this?
Of course it should be rebuilt. To allow the perpetrators the glory (from their point of view) of cutting a hole in New York would be wrong. Office space is a stupid and insensitive argument indeed, and a memorial is needed, but to not rebuild the towers would give religious fanatics way too much reason for glee.
To rebuild is the only option. Bigger, taller, stronger. There have been terrible bombings in the UK and Europe over the past decades - each time the country has been rebuilt.
As for a memorial, and as a form of counselling, why not dedicate some of the floors to an area of international religious understanding, where every religion has an area and "ambassador". Before they can take up residency they have to, in the name of their respective religion, renounce all forms of terror and killing.
Every time I see an image of the twin towers before the attack in a modern film or in a photo, I think of the gaping hole that now remains. If that hole is left open, what will remain will be a scar to prolong the memory of what terrorists can achieve. The tragic victims should be remembered for the lives they led, not for where they ended them.
They should be built back even bigger than before. If our government carries through on its promise to essentially eliminate terrorism such as this in the future, there will be no rational reason to suggest that this type of tragedy would occur again. A memorial should also be erected in the vicinity, but not in place of such valuable and necessary real estate.
Somehow I like the fact that the beautiful and symbolic (rather than just tall) Empire State is back to being the tallest building in New York. As for the WTC site: a park is going to be a better memorial than another office block, but I can't see the site's owners wanting to lose their income, unfortunately.
Comments about walking over graves are over-sentimental as the same could be said about driving along any road where there has been a fatality. To concentrate on the towers alone is wrong. Several blocks were destroyed, and this area should be redeveloped, but what about retaining some of the shattered concrete and the remains of the facade of one of the towers as a memorial? This will fade into memory like all other disasters, a great city should not be blighted by empty space, then the terrorists would have won.
Personally I think they should be rebuilt but bigger and better. As others have said they would need to be protected by an enforced air exclusion zone and be designed to withstand a much greater impact and facilitate faster evacuation. The bronze globe set in the fountain outside the towers (I'm not sure what's left of it) could become a memorial fountain. The message must be clear: the civilised world will prevail and overcome terrorism.
And just a thought for Kim, UK: London and other major cities have been bombed frequently by the IRA but people still work there.
The twin towers, or the Pentagon, will not be the same again if they are rebuilt. They will always have a sadness attached to them. Build a park where the WTC was, and build new offices elsewhere.
I worked in the docklands area in London, which was bombed by the IRA. Large parts have been rebuilt and the rest will be. The twin towers should be rebuilt to show that we do not bend our knee to terrorists.
The land should be developed into the most beautiful memorial designed by a global collaboration of designers to show strength, resolve and compassion. The economic reality of rebuilding the towers is simple. Don't build the towers and the leaseholder will suffer losses. Re-build the towers at a cost of, say, $4Bn and you have to quickly lease the whole building to avoid even greater losses. After the 1998 bombing the building was close to being leased as back office. After the 11th September tragedy it is unlikely to ever be fully let at a reasonable return. New Yorkers and indeed the world have a void in their hearts and a representative void in the skyline of New York seems a fitting memorial in itself. Give the world somewhere to mourn and reflect.
Who will work in such a building again after it has been attacked once? What companies are prepared to take the risk again? What insurance companies are prepared to be involved again? These questions may seem callous, but they are fundamentally important when it comes to considering if the towers should be rebuilt. Granted economics dictates that an office needs to be built, but how about a smaller, symbolic office block.
No one can dispute that historically New York has been in desperate need for office space. Hence the construction of skyscrapers. To leave the area unoccupied would be a dreadful waste of real estate. The towers should be constructed not only for economic purposes but also as an embodiment of the idea of American resilience - the ability of the nation to rebuild itself in spite of devastating blows.
Perry Schager, USA
Perhaps some part of the wreckage should be left as a permanent reminder - like the Gedachtniskirche in Berlin or Coventry Cathedral in the UK. There is something humbling and levelling about such a monument. All this brash talk about 'build them taller' - the very reason they were targeted in the first place was their symbol of western capitalism and wealth.
Why not spend the money that would be spent on rebuilding the towers on providing economic aid to countries where millions (not thousands)of people have died directly because of US sanctions.
The Towers can be built much stronger than they were before, resistant to a hit by a 747, and be protected by no-fly zones or anti-aircraft missiles. Just because no building designed so far could take that kind of hit does in no way imply that such construction is impossible.
Why would the terrorists strike what would be made into a difficult target? They have plenty of other options, other cities to hit.
Re David Slatter. Anti Aircraft missiles? So it's ok then if the aircraft slams into someone else, not us? No, the towers should not be rebuilt no one would work in it anyway. The leaseholder though must be praying otherwise.
As an American and a former New York City
I've got to say that you can't leave
that site empty. Seeing the
skyline void in that area of the city
would be like leaving a huge
psychological scar. Moreover, New
York City is in desperate need of land
and as such we can't really waste
land on parks. New York does not
have much land to expand into. It's
either water or suburbs. Perhaps they should build
a new WTC that better conforms to
the skyline of NYC and in specific
Lower Manhattan. Perhaps a
27 Sep 01 | Americas
All hope lost for NY victims' relatives
23 Sep 01 | Americas
Should the towers be rebuilt?
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