As income inequality and urbanization reach record levels, our cities are increasingly divided. Often materialized through architecture, boundaries define communities for social, cultural, geo-political and economic purposes. Typically visualized as walls, fences, and security infrastructure, this condition is familiar and often understood as linear and binary: separating one entity from the other. However, we seek to investigate divides as a wider mechanism of global urbanism, and one that is more spatially and socially complex.
In the public imagination, urban divides are often defined by political conflict and iconized as “other.” Yet today urban divides are not spaces of exception. Dialogue on urban divides is burgeoning: cities globally are seeing amplified gentrification, ghettoization and informal growth. The Yale Architectural Journal’s 50th issue aims to assemble the multiple discussions on urban divides and unpack architecture’s role. Given that any act of architecture is simultaneously including and excluding, Urban Divides provides a lens to explore its larger social impact.