Envisaging L'Aquila
edited by Alessandro Coppola

The urban environment – Mirror and mediator of radicalisation?


The urban environment – Mirror and mediator of radicalisation? is an exhibition curated by Ralf Brand on how polarisation becomes materially imprinted in cities. It tackles the very important issue of how certain material features of cities such as the type of buildings, infrastructures and public spaces can accelerate social polarisation, leading to spatial contests and radicalisation. The exhibition takes place in Belfast, but it is based on an extensive comparative studies of 4 important and complex cities as Amsterdam, Beirut, Belfast and Berlin.

In the picture above, you can see a recently built pedestrian bridge in Belfast. It crosses a highway which, Brand explains, “was used to separate a catholic from a protestant community. both ends of the bridge are perfect spots from which to throw stones etc. onto ‘enemy’ territory. The situation turned so bad that even a new peace wall had to be built on one side – visible on the far right.”

The Launch event is on Nov. 5 2009 at the The Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland in Belfast.


The topic interestingly interweaves with our research on the social life of walls in urban environments, documented in The Wall and The City.

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