« The Banlieue Battleground: Designing the French Suburbs for Police/Military Interventions » (The Funambulist, septembre 2015)
The police has a strong sense of space. Like the army, it deploys itself in it, it controls it, it appropriates it. There is therefore no doubt that its participation in the design of entire neighborhoods like the Banlieues triggers effectively drastic changes in the organization of bodies in space. Yet, we should refrain from seeing such a participation as a corruption of the noble discipline we assume architecture to be. On the contrary, I would to argue, that when the police and the architect becomes one and only entity, it is the very essence of architecture that is accomplished: its violent inherent characteristics find their full-use and its ability to subsequently control the bodies it hosts is optimal. In the case of the Banlieues, it also sanctify the absolute separation of the police/architect and its inhabitants. The necessary antagonism that results from this separation is also what feeds it, since it creates and fuel the delinquency and criminality — something admittedly difficult to describe beyond the mythical narratives that characterize them on a daily basis — against which it claims to be organized. Only the dissolution of this rhetorical and political antagonism, which materializes, among other things, through the withdrawal of the police from any territorial organization can claim to “solve problems,” and actively destroy the segregationist agency of space in French cities.