Work title: Border City (0000801676)
The effects of transnational political situations are radically changing the way we live. The realities of cross-border conflicts and political disputes of autonomy have created strife within cities leading to crises of identity, place, and hate within culture.
A transnational border condition at the edge of the European Union, in the Spanish exclave of Ceuta, is the
site of the proposal. The exclave, which was seized by Portugal in 1415, and Spain in 1560, became an autonomous city in 1995, as a part of Spain. For over 600 years, it has been a stronghold of European presence in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
In 1985, the same year Spain joined the EU, the Shenghen Agreement was signed, creating the abolishment of internal boundaries inside the EU, emphasizing the external boundary for movement within. Once inside, a traveler has unrestricted access to all countries under the Shenghen Agreement. In 1995, the EU funded a $320 million border fence in Ceuta under EU’s motto, “Fortress Europe.”
Ceuta’s border has become a siphon for the emergent Sub-Saharan migratory phenomenon. Ceuta is one of three Sub-Saharan migratory destinations in order to cross into mainland Europe, the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, and Malta. As the Strait of Gibraltar is the one of the closest points between two continents in the world, it has become a deathtrap for migrants, as up to 1,200 people have died anually attempting to cross the strait or attempting to jump fences. Thus, Ceuta has become the physical manifestation of the motto, “Fortress Europe.”
Additionally, the condition that exists presents a crisis of identity. Morocco, which does not recognize Ceuta’s as autonomous entity, is rooted in Muslim North Africa cultural ideologies. This forces Morocco to play “host” to Spanish-Christian Ceuta creating conflicting spheres of identities within an existing sphere of conflicting geopolitics. The binary dialectic emerges at the moment of difference—the border.
Border city proposes to utilize the existing border crossing footprint to re-imagine border as a habitable hybrid territory. Cognizant of the fact that the black market adjacent to the border crossing is already a moment when the border is permeated by a flows through a legal loophole allowing Moroccans to enter Ceuta for 24 hours, border city capitalizes on this existing condition to continue this market into the crossing. This territory will act as a free-trade link to the nearby city of Fnideq, and to Morocco. Understanding that the existing area of land between Fnideq and the border will be developed by the year 2015, this scenario is a way to juxtapose existing border crossing and hyperreal conditions. Drawing upon the existing typological conditions, the souk, the port, and the Almerian greenhouse, Border city is a hybrid typology of the three which opportunistically looks to the future where border is not a line, but habitable territory.