Dr Daniela Vicherat Mattar (Marie-Curie Research Fellow, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh)
The fall of the Berlin Wall triggered what seemed at the time the consensual rejection of walls, ghettos or segregated communities within European cities. However, the Peace Lines in Belfast, a recent wall built in Padua and the encircling walls in the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta, show that such consensus was superficial. Ethnic and/or religious differences underpin the fear of immigration, crime or terror attacks, and serve as justifications for the official presence of walls in these cities. Paradoxically, while these examples reflect walls’ power to fragment, they also show their ability unify clusters of citizens within the urban space. This apparent contradiction is embedded in the nature of walls, and it mirrors the way in which the city relates to its residents. Examining walls does not only allow us to question how urban forms affect the nature of peoples’ rights to the city, but also to observe which parts of the cit —or in other words, which kind of city—is for whom. The main objective of this presentation is to discuss theoretically and empirically whether the presence of walls in current European cities is a sign of urban unification or its progressive fragmentation.
Part of the City Seminar seminar series
Open to all. No registration required.
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