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Mariposa 1038 (Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

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The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD) is a network of architects and allied stakeholders that promotes equity in housing, excellence in residential design, and sustainable, vibrant communities for all, through education, research, awards, and advocacy.

Why borders are a topic of relevance for any designer or planner

  • 1.  Why borders are a topic of relevance for any designer or planner

    Posted 11-08-2018 02:05 PM


    Borders and boundaries have affected the built environment throughout history. How we perceive them influences what we do.

    In history books we learn about the wars between Sparta and Athens, two city-states with different cultures which couldn't be more different from each other. The one inland and inward, agricultural with mandatory military service and serf who had to feed the military. The other on the water, trade oriented with a fleet without compulsory service and a system that let parts of the population vote. The one martial and relying on an enslaved workforce, the other with aspirations for democracy.
    Reimagined ancient Athens: A maritime power open to the world

    The hostilities between the two cities lasted 27 years, interrupted by an uneasy six year truce. In the end the two most powerful nodes of the ancient power center were diminished. Still their legacy reaches deep into modern time. The Athenian Solon is remembered to this day as a wise man for his laws which equalized political power including the cancellation of debts and the abolition of debt slavery. He also created opportunities for some common people to participate in the government of Athens, laying the groundwork for democracy in Athens.

    The epic battles of the Peloponnesian War seem quaint today, especially from the American perspective of a powerful nation that spans 3000 miles across. Sparta and Athens are not even a 100 miles apart by air, both easily fit into a day trip for a US tourist with the ambition of discovering Europe in a week.
    Remigained Sparta: Mountainous, inland and isolated

    World war I and II, both much shorter but infinitely more destructive than the Peloponnesian War, pitted almost all European nations against each other in an array of hostilities. Even though the motives were confusing, the role of power, the military and the people was an element in...


    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
    AIA Awards Housing 2021. the book is now available on Amazon! Buy now >