This thesis aims to study the specific theme of insecurity and its spatial manifestation as walls, fences and related physical objects and electronic accessories of division that create and enhance spatial divisions, as well as restrict access to homes, buildings, and installations in the twentieth century metropolis. The ideas of insecurity and its spatial manifestations investigated here will be grounded in Georg Simmel’s classic essay “The Metropolis and Mental Life”, first published in 1903.
To that end, the primary exploration of the thesis revolves around the semiotic and psychological experiences of the individual that arises from his interaction with the visual aspects of elements of spatial division such as gates, fences, surveillance mechanisms and walls. How does the shared cognitive outlook of fear that arises from such experiences influence the conceptualization of public space in the city? How does the conceptualization of the contemporary city as an idea rooted in the production and consumption of space inform urban spatial expression? If applicable, what are the limitations of such analogies as reflected in the writings under investigations. If not applicable, what are the possible common denominators of the ideas of insecurity in the writings.
Thus, the primary argument of this essay is: following a careful investigation of Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life”, one might discover that urbanization and its spatial manifestation in the spaces of division- engenders a particular kind of struggle that is focused on meeting the needs of everyday existence- creates a space of interaction that encourages individual insecurity, loss and alienation within the contemporary metropolis.