Spatial Practices in Borderlands: Bottom-Up Experiences and Their Influence on Border Communities

Guido Cimadomo


Differences and conflicts are most evident at borderlands, which act as balancing tools to organize and filter economic and migratory flows. The increased militarization of these areas, which often requires creating empty spaces next to the fences, fosters deterritorialization processes that not only have profound effects on the territory, but also on the people living in these areas. As space shapes people, this paper analyses the effects of marginalization and violence, as well as hope for a better future for people and migrants living in these places. After evidencing place disattachment and life disruption originated by strong transformations to their environments, a review based on literature of several bottom-up experiences acting in these areas is presented. Based on subversion, contamination, hybridization and transgression, these examples show the interesting ambivalence of borderlands, which provide a provocative and inspiring arena for new local planning and architectural design for recovering place attachment,stronger community identities and the development of new models of coexistence.


Borderlands; boundaries; urban transformations; deterritorialization; re-framing borders; bordering practices

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ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies - ISSN: 1492-9732