19 de outubro de 2008

In(visible) border

...5th part

There is a tendency to expand the realm of freedom by providing the cities with more public spaces where strange people can meet and engage at least in a temporary interaction, talk to each other, sometimes strike a friendship and establish more or less durable relations with each other.

(...)There is a tendency towards keeping a distance, building walls, drawing borders, spatial separation. It is most pronounced in the United States of America, but visible more and more in European countries. A tendency to divide the city into a collection of voluntary and involuntary ghettos.

On the one hand, “gated communities”, where people who can afford it hide themselves in a closely guarded territory, surrounded by armed guards on the watch for twenty-four hours a day and keeping the strangers out. If you can’t afford to buy yourself into a gated community, at least you buy better locks to put on your door, burglar alarms and closed-circuit television to keep strangers away, or you join the local ‘neighbourhood watch’ vigilante group to keep strangers away.

And there are ever spreading involuntary ghettos, into which people are dumped without being asked, not because they want it but because they are not allowed to go out. When applied to some particularly ‘rough’ districts of the city, the expression “no go area” means different things to people outside and the people inside.

For the first, it means “I’d rather not go in”, “I’ll keep away”. But for the people who are inside “no go area” means “I can’t go out”, “I’m not allowed to get out from here”.

Zygmunt Bauman
New Frontiers and Universal Values
Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona 2004

.... continues

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