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Friday, 31 October 2014 00:00

Good Reads – From European Ghettos to Revolutionary Babies

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Ready for some Good Reads from Europe and beyond? This time Veronica Pozzi, one of our Sixth Sense editors, takes up the challenge and shares with you some multimedia content. Follow this intriguing mixture of media, from an article about the way we structure European cities to a podcast on the Berlin Wall.

 

Veronica, Sixth Sense

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Modern Ghettos in Civilized Europe

 

Strolling around in Berlin's Museum of European Cultures, I once saw pictures of doorbells being used to show the social changes different cities have undergone. I was rather interested by the idea of demonstrating how waves of immigration have changed European cities through the years, so that doorbells have slowly started to feature not only local surnames, but also last names typical to other countries as well. 

Since then, whenever I visit a city I cannot resist the temptation to have a look at some doorbells here and there, daydreaming about what brought immigrants there and whether they feel integrated in the city's society. It's an easy way to grasp how a city has organised itself, how it copes with its past and current social issues and what kind of social mix characterises the quarter you are in at the moment. It is no surprise that if you are in the outskirts or deprived areas, you will most likely stumble across many doorbells of immigrants, let alone prisons or mental hospitals, as society tries to hide or not to think about these realities. 

On this topic, I was intrigued by the views that the Italian architect Guido Morpurgo shared on Eutopia magazine. His article poses the question of social identity in European cities and does not forget how European society is still far from having an integrative – and integrated – society. As Morpurgo argues, Europe has a long-standing tradition of ghettos, mostly associated with Jewish communities and the Third Reich. 


As he writes, he boosts a debate about what surely is still an open and unresolved question even in our beloved and supposedly civilised Europe: the reissued physical forms of segregation to contain what is perceived as different, unfamiliar, diverse. In a society in which the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and wider, it is nice to see that some architects look at their job from a social perspective as well, illustrating the necessity to rethink our choices in urban planning, if we genuinely want to be united.

Make yourself a good espresso, take your thermos and head to the nearest park to enjoy this article with your freshly-created Italian philosopher look.

On Air - Switching to Multimedia 

 

Well, I am aware that Good Reads is supposed to mention some… good reads. But I was wondering whether it could not feature some good content coming from other media as well. So here you go: a nice BBC podcast I was listening to the other day. 

With the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall coming soon, it was inevitable that the matter would attract attention from the English media that stay generally well-tuned on Germany's news. So Neil MacGregor took a walk along the river Spree in Berlin and went back to the two Germanies with a journey through time that features some unusual artifacts such as a wetsuit used during an attempt to escape from East Germany. 

The podcast, which has the specialty of giving unusual and personal insights on the Berlin Wall, is entitled "Divided Heaven", just like a novel from 1963 which tells the love story of a couple that should be together but is instead divided by the wall. 

Give it a listen while on the underground and stay tuned to E&M for more podcasts on the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Revolutionary babies

In Hong Kong, even children are part of the Umbrella Movement, while the mass protests seem to have grabbed the attention of European media, with the movement itself spreading among EU countries and their citizens.

With E&M soon bringing out a piece focusing on the European sides of the protests, why don't you stay informed and read this interesting story of a Hong Kong teacher who tried to explain to her school children what is going on? In a world where it is difficult even for adults to understand the developments, her attempt to make a daily demonstration sound meaningful to a child's ear is remarkable.

A nice and quick insight into an unusual story, suitable to cheer you up when the world is affecting you way too much.

Last modified on Saturday, 08 November 2014 16:50

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