Medio Evo Prossimo Venturo (The Coming Middle Age)

Public Ungovernability & Private Control

Conceptual Cartography by Jesús Aponte and Carlos Vigo.

The Middle Age is thought of as an historic event without possibility of reoccurrence. However, the suburban model of development that has been adopted in Puerto Rico possibly resembles a new type of Middle Age, both in the conditions of ungovernability that fragments the territory, but also how the framework suffers because of the lack of unifying central authority.

As a case study for this behavior, the city of San Juan is used as means to demonstrate this phenomenon. The development of San Juan suffers from extreme sprawl, fragmentation and concealment from its context. The huge amount of controlled access housing developments in San Juan lack central authority that regulates their growth and rate of involution. They isolate themselves from their context, creating impenetrable boundaries from within and from outside, and existing almost independently, just as the communities of the Middle Ages. There is a hostile relationship of separation and subdivision between the developments and the rest of the city and its functions.

The city is analyzed as a living being, it grows and changes with time, as it also could get sick. An analogy can be done with the city and a sick cerebrum, a series of tumors that slowly but progressively seize the city and impair its functions. The networks of the city, as the vessels of the body, break without possibility of recovery. The disease is also contagious, reaching developments that once functioned as part of the city.

A conceptual cartography is created to portray these ideas, specifically the phenomenon of developments within developments, that further aggravates the severity of the situation. It segregates one sector with the other and a need of independent governance is created to be able to function, as the central governance is unable to penetrate deep enough. This type of development is destined to collapse and retrograde, transforming themselves in independent feudal communes with the purpose of subsistence.




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