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City Design (MA)

DS2 - Border Environments


The Border Environment(s) Studio investigates “illegalised" circulations within the European Union by mapping the interplay between people in transit and the physical, political, and cultural environments they inhabit.

Moving beyond a definition of borders and bordering practices as localised and linear manifestations of power – a wall separating two territories, a series of checkpoints funnelling and filtering circulations - the studio proposes to foreground the proliferation of relational, dispersed borders bringing together distant geographies, multiple scales, communitarian and national politics, widespread racism, and colonial refluxes.

Border environment(s) wants to address both the weaponisation of environmental factors in processes of border-making, and the transboundary, intersectional infrastructure of solidarity, exploring alliances between forms of activism and organising, political affinities, and cultural continuities.

The studio deploys collective and multidisciplinary modes of knowledge production, to explore the role of design, architecture and urbanism in building platforms for politically situated collaborations and exploring the spaces where transboundary politics are enacted. This way, the multiplicity of methodologies strives not to “report from a distance” the spatial conditions, accidents, and political effects of the European borderscape but to immerse its operations in the “field” through collaborative tools and methods of radical mapping.

Engaging with urban and environmental struggles, humanitarian violence, solidarity and the making of inhospitable landscapes as spatial manifestations, the Studio aims to question notions of citizenship, identity, belonging as they are formed both globally and locally.

Image: Signs along the mountain trail used by people in transit to cross from Grimaldi (IT) to Menton (FR). Feb 2023.