Our Homes are Fortifications
Our houses more than anything now serve as defenses to separate and ‘protect ourselves’ from the public and doors act to ‘stop and separate’ [Perec, 2008, p.37] us, acting as a divider or gateway. As soon as we pass through the front door we enter the realm of private space.An example of the increase in privacy beyond the realm of the home would be the rise in gated communities. These communities, or neighborhoods began in America about 20 years ago but there is also an increasing trend towards gated communities in England.This type of neighborhood is especially designed to keep certain people out.The elitist and controlling structure is an attempt for people to ‘shield themselves from the threats of a harsh and untrusting society’ [Wilkinson and Pickett., 2010, p.58].Where people are cocooned in their small dream world, which I believe creates segregation and leads to paranoia of the outside world. In my view I see that our homes are already private havens for us to retreat to, so that if the world continued to be made up of private gated communities the segregation divide between places we live would become insurmountable, comparable to a new kind of apartheid.We can observe extreme divides in living standards within the same cities and even neighborhoods. I have come to discover this in my current location, which borders the prosperous middle-class Greenwich and the deprived Deptford area. However, these areas are not separated from one another by physical barriers it is possible to walk, drive or catch public transport to and from each location.
The familiar photograph of opposing communities in Sao Paulo, Brazil illustrates the tremendous divide in many cities in the world.
What differs with gated communities is that one cannot pass through without the correct codes or identification and sometimes they can stretch for miles. On a much larger more dramatic scale gated communities are reminiscent of the Berlin Wall, and the huge stretch of the west bank wall dividing Israel and Palestine. On the largest and smallest of scales; boundaries, borders and territories have been fought over since the dawn of civilization. Irit Rogoff writes that space ‘is always subject to the invisible boundary lines which determine inclusions and exclusions’ [Rogoff, 2000, p.35]. In society we all see ourselves as individuals, and people have always wanted their own little or big bit of land for themselves.We are driven by the sense of power and privilege that owning something brings. But this struggle for privacy and ownership today has become endemic.