Toolbox 4 – Acting on frontiers
Opening up borders and partnerships
This tool has to do with moving between locations, groups and situations that would otherwise remain separate and distant from each other, and collaborating with actors, institutions and organisations outside the community.
What is this about?
When we draw a city map, we need to think where the territory of a neighbourhood begins and ends. The lines that indicate this are the boundaries or borders of communities. City borders influence how people may develop in a personal and social sense. In a personal sense, the communities with more open borders allow their residents to have more access to free leisure activities, such as beaches or parks. A more open border stimulates people, ideas and even information to circulate more freely.
The right to come and go is a central component of the right to the city (Harvey, 2003). Research on underground sociabilities found that favela residents are acutely aware of the material and symbolic barriers that separate them from the wider city (Jovchelovitch & Priego-Hernandez, 2013). These barriers are more or less open depending on a number of factors:
- the diversity of institutions present in the communities;
- the geographical location of the communities within the wider city;
- the presence of physical urban connectors that provide links to the city;
- leisure opportunities;
- the representations held about the communities and the key historical events that define them in the imagination of the city.
Acting on borders requires tackling all of the above, and one of the ways in which this happens is through the establishment of partnerships. Collaborating with different actors and organisations inside and outside the community stimulates movement of people and expansion of networks, with positive outcomes at the individual and community levels. Benefits include more opportunities for mobility, both social and geographical.