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Names on the 9/11 Memorial are arranged in a special way: Watch the designer explain the meaning behind them

September 08, 2017

When creating the concept for the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, designers decided to arrange the names of the victims in a way that is more special than simply listing the names in alphabetical order.

The architect of the memorial, Michael Arad, elected to create “meaningful adjacencies” by arranging the names of the victims based on where they were and who they were with when they died.

The 9/11 Memorial Foundation took more than 1,200 requests that were made by relatives, friends, colleagues and loved ones to list names near the names of other loved ones.

Local Projects, a New York media design firm, took the requests and created an algorithm to help people be grouped together.

“The architect and the Memorial had decided on this arrangement schema as a design move to try keep all the names undifferentiated,” said Jake Barton, Director of Local Projects. “They wanted to make a latticework of meaning underneath all those names. You have families clustered together, best friends, even incredible stories of strangers who died on that day, all of which was identified through this process to create meaningful adjacency.”

The names of nearly 3,000 men, women and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, are inscribed in bronze on parapets lining the two square pools where the Twin Towers once stood.

Along the North Pool are the names of those who died in the North Tower, as well as the crew and passengers of American Airlines Flight 11, and those who died in the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center. The names of those in the South Pool are those who worked or visited the South Tower, the crews and passengers of United Flight 175, United Flight 93 and American Airlines Flight 77, first responders and people working at or visiting the Pentagon.