– Enshen Wang
Exploring the strata in a city, shows how certain layers such as fear and exclusion- usually intangible, can take on physical form. I was first interested in the noticeable lack of social mix as seen in Bermondsey and Paris. In Bermondsey there lies a clear distinction between private housing and council flats.
Historically the fortified city wall protected settlements from invaders. In Haussmann’s Paris, boulevards arguably brought a layer of control and access for the military to quell uprisings. Fear today has shifted from outside the city walls to within the urban fabric, shifting the last line of defence from the city wall to the building wall. Today in just a single block, exist numerous elements of exclusion, both tangible and intangible. Where the wall is traditionally read as a flat plane, these mappings present the elevations in a reading where these objects and elements give a three dimensionality to exclusion and surveillance.
This exclusion seems to always exist no matter the policy or scale implemented; in both Paris and London there are certain regulations that mean new developments must include a certain percentage of affordable housing in the development, but this has only resulted new failures in the system in the “poor door” where they are not given access to the same level of amenities. Exploring this exclusion, I was also interested in how much of the city actually exists in relation to the level of access or seen. The traditional figure ground erodes to form a new reading, leaving a series of shells beyond what you can access.