Demo description

Walk the line: 1

I started walking the boundary of the community Molenbeek.

Looking at my De Rouck and Falkplan citymaps of Brussels, it struck me that the biggest lines were indicating borders between communities. The cumulative borders of the 19 communities in Brussels add up to a substantial length. It sounds illogical to draw borderlines between communities on a map which is purely about planning routes through a city: these borderlines are not visible in the streets and there are no signs indicating their position which means they are useless when navigating the city.

Staying on the exact edge between two neighborhoods will be more difficult than following a road, but I am curious what difficulties I will find on my way, and what obstructions I will encounter. Interpreting the borderline as a pathway is not the most scientific approach of reading a map, but I expect that walking this line will generate navigational information that can not be delivered by a cartographic overview. Where maps are about norms, egalisation and clearity, walking weaves differences, contrasts and varieties together in a personal tale of a city. When navigating a city by foot the architectural details, city views, sounds and temporary situations you see and experience build an empirical understanding of the environment.

The line around Molenbeek penetrates buildings, invades private terrain and travels over waters and other inaccessable areas in unpredictable figures. I am curious to find out where walking this border permits views on the differences of the neighbourhoods it seperates. What is the width of a borderline? Can logic explanations for its shape be derived from the position of buildings, en what does this chartographic existence yet visual abscence of the borderline mean for the urban environment and the lives of citizens?