Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell
Beyond Walled Spaces – Transforming Policies of Exclusion with Policies of Inclusion
In 1989, the sentiment was that the fall of the Berlin Wall would spell an end to bordering, walls and fences in favor of mobility and open geographical spaces. Instead, however, we have observed a ‘new area of walls’, hard borders, checkpoints and physical and virtual frontiers, between and within national territories as well as within cities. Endemic within the “global cities” during and post the 1990s were socio-economic inequalities that went alongside the building of technologies of division that created ever more walled-off and ‘secure’ communities that guard against the unwanted ‘other’, establishing forms of ‘spatial apartheid’. The Covid-19 pandemic reveals how socioeconomic and spatial segregation and inequalities are corrosive to social cohesion and democratic governance. It is therefore paramount that strategies of spatial segregation enforced through walls, fences and barriers are replaced by evidence-informed policies that tackle root causes of inequality in an attempt to establish cities based on spatial justice, mobility and the right to the city.
Dr. Christine Leuenberger is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University and a Fulbright Specialist. She has published various edited volumes and books and her work has also appeared in various academic journals, edited volumes and popular news outlets. Her most recent co-authored book was published with Oxford University Press (2020) The Politics of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of Israel/Palestine. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Israel and the West Bank in 2008 and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow (STPF) at the U.S. Department of State and at the United States Agency for International Development in 2016-2017. She was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Scholar’s award to investigate the history and sociology of mapping practices in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. She is currently conducting research on issues of migration and borders, and is engaged in peace and educational initiatives in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.