“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
For millions of travelers every day, an airport is the gate to a foreign country. It is here that the journey ends, that the border is finally crossed. Yet, where exactly does the border begin?
I recently heard about this book which brings to light the fact that different people and communities will use and experience the city in different ways. How do we consolidate and map these experience? What will it reveal?
Maps are power projections. Adminsitrative jurisdiction and lines divide responsibilities for a space. But these lines made on paper force social processes into play with consequences in real space. Planning maps, as such, can be thought of as tools of violence, destruction and exclusion for their impact.
This post from Urban Omnibus is a great introduction to mapping as a critical, social practice. It is a short interview with architect and educator Louise Harpman, who teachers a course on Mapping at NYU.
We must listen to voices that disagree with us, and have an open debate about how we use our powers and remember that government exists to serve the power of the individual not the other way around … that is what keeps us different to those on the other side of the wall.
– Barack Obama, June 19th at the Brandenburg Gates
Saskia Sassen’s research deals with the existence and formation of borders and of cities as frontier zones.
Thinking about maps, the first thing to come to mind is political borders. The delineations between countries, between spaces and between people which in an age of globalization make mobility more a challenge than one could hope.
About 19 kilometers (12 miles) of what appears to be black polypropylene twine, 3mm in diameter and suspended in the sky, demarcates an important boundary in Central Brooklyn.
Our great, global cities are turning into vast gated citadels where the elite reproduces itself
– Simon Kuper, Financial Times More