The Immured Space: threshold of boundaries

Published at: 22 June 2020

Prof. Balkiz Yapicioglu and Prof. Konstantinos Lalenis are underway of editing a book called ‘The Immured Space: threshold of boundaries’. We are in contact with Edward Elgar Publishing, who has expressed interest with a quite enthusiastic way. The proposal for the book and the description of the Parts of it, are as follows. We would wish to invite colleagues from AESOP to contribute a chapter in any of the Parts, and we would be happy to accept abstracts of 250-300 words, until mid July. Abstracts may be sent to the email addresses shown below.

Balkiz Yapicioglu, Associate Professor, Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design Faculty of Design

Konstantinos Lalenis, Professor of Urban Planning and Governance, Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly,

The Immured Space: threshold of boundaries

“Space immured” is a space of collective characteristics in or out of which free access or movement is denied, or forbidden, or strictly monitored for specific groups or individuals, or the sense of intruding to an alien space is imposed out of threat or fear. In any case barriers have clear and discrete characteristics. Walls or barriers could be physical or conceptual, and they are usually set by the ‘dominant’ of the involved groups or by a 3rd agent or authority without consultation of all the involved agents and often against the will of some of the involved. Their establishment or construction is time independent. Might be a ‘immediate’ reaction to an incident like a war, social crisis or etc., or a slow development reflecting the evolution of social gaps, conflicts or social segregation in an area.

An ‘opening’ of the barrier signifies the essential change of function of the immured space, and creates different dynamics, perceptions and attitudes and reshapes the urban fabric. It is just the ‘beginning of the end’ of the immured space as such. The physical barriers remain usually as remnants of their previous role, and serve as the historical elements and/or part of the cultural tradition. Reflection of the boundaries in immured space are more obvious in the urban environment since there human activities become more obvious and social reproduction takes place. Nevertheless, examples such as the wall between Israeli and Palestinian land, or the intended one between the USA and Mexico, are quite indicative of the scope and nature of immured spaces.

The book examines and analyses the origins of immured spaces and their nature, depending on a set of dualities and threshold of dualities (gradual or abrupt) which are defined as, for the purpose of this book, ‘impermeable/permeable’, ‘trust/fear’ and ‘αwe (δέος)/foreboding’. Based on these, a categorization will be attempted with reflections at the three main functions of society. Production, consumption, social reproduction. Emphasis will be given to the impact of immured spaces to perceptions and activities of the local populations and their reflections in the urban fabric (land uses management of space, etc.).

The processes of ‘opening up’ of immured spaces will also be examined and the examples from case studies will be aimed to be categorized according to the categorization based on ‘dualities’. In this way, the characteristics such as pace of adaptation, smoothness, irreversibility etc., might become comprehensible. The in depth understanding of the very nature if immured space, as well as of the processes of their transformation may contribute in improvements and improvisations in policy making and in spatial planning in these areas.

The Parts proposed:

  1. Divided Cities • This chapter intends to focus on divided cities due to a political conflict where the cities are actually divided (or were divided) by walls. The authors can discuss the impact of the division, as well as the impact of the reunification on the cities and the society. Therefore, the discussion should be based on the dualities based on ethnicity, religion, their effect on the city fabric and etc.

  2. Segregated Spaces • This chapters aims to cover segregation of populations within the city (enclaves of the city) Part of the population with specific characteristics imposing segregation in other part, usually minor population based on equivalent characteristics (nationality, religion, legal status, gender).

  3. Protected Spaces • This chapter aims to cover spaces that are accessed by only certain group of people and spaces on the other side (in- space or out -space). The most characteristic examples are the protected neighbourhoods, residential states in many cities. These spaces are usually impermeable due to the dualities of fear/trust.

  4. Spaces Beyond • This chapter aims to cover the spaces that connects the living and the death and the unknown (e.g. threat, fear, trust) and the ‘αwe (δέος)/foreboding’, and also borders created by day and night. The authors may focus on necropolis, and its connection or disconnection to the polis. This framework may include border of spaces, politics, management of cultural heritage and etc.

  5. Borders Thresholds • This chapter aims to cover the spaces that are in the process of change and that are opening up (spaces that belong to neither one side nor the other). The authors within this framework can discuss the effect of the interactions which break up the stereotypes that once were solidified across the borders (i.e. fear, desertification of spaces, etc.).