Throughout the south of the United States, hundreds of mid-century “equalization schools”—public schools built in the 1950s following Brown vs. Board of Education in a desperate effort to maintain segregated “separate but equal” schools in southern states—sit empty, abandoned, and crumbling.
Urban Segregation: The Latest Architecture and News
Regardless of where you live or work or who you’re friends with, you usually move around the same neighbourhoods and streets of your city. It may be London, Santiago, Shanghai, or Moscow, but in any of these places, there are always districts you have never set a foot in. Have you ever considered how many ‘cities’ are within your own city?
A research article published in The Royal Society Open Science and signed by Chilean researchers utilizes big data to analyze and visualize urban segregation, delivering spatial tools that allow us to develop strategies in a city of many cities. "We know there are [social] bubbles in Santiago, Chile, and that therefore, there is segregation," says Teodoro Dannemann, co-author of the research paper The time geography of segregation during working hours, in a conversation with ArchDaily. “We know that each person explores only a small fraction of the city, which is basically the home-work trajectory. This implies that we only engage with a small group of citizens," he adds.
This article was originally published in ArchDaily en Español last October 30, twelve days after the social crisis in Chile escalated. Some ideas of the analysis may feel outdated since some structural reforms were recently announced, but the author decided to keep the original spirit of the piece.
A 4 cent fair increase for the Metro in Santiago sparked mass fare-dodging protests in Chile starting on October 6. Alongside spontaneous street demonstrations, the protests spilled into widespread violence across Santiago during the following days until October 18. That day, the Metro network collapsed, the riots multiplied across the city, and looting and fires were out of control. That night, President Sebastian Piñera declared a state of emergency.
Warning: this article proposes a narrative according to the route taken from one side to the other of the wall, from the predictable to the most unpredictable. To better situate ourselves, the narrative will be told through my personal experience.
"Do you know the wall that divides the rich from the poor?," asked three Greek travelers who, after visiting the "pretty" side of Lima, suspected that something was hiding behind appearances. But, "how is it that from, even though you're from the other side of the world, you knew about the wall?" Well, news travels. And "why is this wall something that has to be seen in our city?" if it's not a cause for pride. I knew exactly what they were talking about. I spelled it out: the wall of shame. Certainly, I wasn't familiar with it in situ either, since I hadn't left my urban bubble, like many of those who live in these parts, so with the same curiosity, as a tourist of my own city, we made our way.
It is said that the world is increasingly developed when in fact it is, undeniably, more technological and globalized. However, it seems risky to talk about development when the advances do not appear everywhere or for all inhabitants.
In such an uneven picture, a select few of the global population enjoy these advances, while a huge number live below the poverty line.
Such contrasts often go unnoticed in the city's daily life, however, are set forth on a diptych relationship with the urban layout, being, at the same time the cause and consequence of deep marks in city design. In Brazil, for example, we have the slums and poor communities that contrast with the buildings and upper-middle-class homes architecture, designed and built with all the necessary resources.