Just look at your neighbors and the way they delimit their property, look at the way you enter a building or a property. Than try to remember if it has always been this way. In many cases, I’m sure a lot has changed.
Lately, we can detect a decreasing level of complexity in contemporary streetscapes. We see fewer multiple options, there is less possibility of interpretation of how to enter a building. We also notice less cases of overlap between different users: everything is pretty much predefined in a way to avoid territorial conflicts.
When we think about depth sequences and its spatial configuration, starting from the public street till arriving at the most intimate part of the home, we do notice an important change: even if the absolute depth of the configuration has almost not changed, its very structure has become more simple and linear during the last decades.
At the same time, properties have each time less subtle territorial codification: we erect higher walls, add fences and gates and block off former entries in a rather harsh way.
In other words, we have more simple configurations, compensated by explicitly defined territories. Easy-to-read territories seem to sell better. As a result, the integrated value in many projects depends increasingly on functional specifications and the use of corridor elements which reduces initially complex depth configurations to pre-planned territorial transitions, avoiding overlap scenarios.
Recent review of some residential projects in the Poblenou district in Barcelona confirmed the previous statement and made me wonder: is it possible to design a (residential) project without constructing multiple fences? Is adding a million fences, gates and walls a real necessity or is it just a part of urban marketing? Do we really always need to focus on keeping “all strangers” out? What would happen if we take all fences, walls, cameras and guards out of our projects?
But above all, instead of attacking the fragile esthetics of a depth sequence, should we not concentrate on its very configuration?
Is there a way out?