IN the wake of last week’s terrorist atrocity in Barcelona, authorities across the world will be reassessing the way in which they attempt to make major cities safe.

Our towns and cities have already begun to change in response to previous attacks, and that process will have to continue as the number of incidents continues to mount.

London’s bridges now feature barriers to prevent vehicles entering the pavement, while Newcastle City Council recently agreed to close off the roads surrounding St James’ Park on a match-day to prevent cars or lorries from being in close proximity to large crowds.

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Those are sensible measures, and there has to be an acceptance that a degree of disruption is a price worth paying if it makes it harder for terrorists to mount their deadly assaults.

However, there also needs to be a balance.

While cities and major tourist spots must be protected, they cannot become walled-off nogo areas, impossible to navigate and enjoy.

If we attempt to change them too much, there is a risk we will eradicate the very things that made them such vibrant, attractive places to visit in the first place.

If it becomes impossible to stroll down Las Ramblas, Barcelona will have lost something fundamental to its identity. If it is all-but-impossible to drive a car through central London, our capital will effectively grind to a halt.

The harsh reality is that it is impossible to make any city 100 per cent safe. That doesn’t mean we should stop introducing new safety measures, but we have to try to retain a semblance of normality despite the obvious threat.

The more we change the things that are dear to us, the more we do the terrorists’ work for them. That would be the worst possible response to the mounting list of tragedies.