Taming the chaos on the boulevard: another world, another city behind the walls

On her way to the market, an inhabitant of the Civic Centre neighbourhood guides us through a shortcut bordered by trees and green areas, which separates the mini-gardens of the apartment blocks from a less circulated side street. Unlike the noisy city on the boulevard, the city of strangers and of the unpredictable, behind the walls of these high tower blocks an urban intimacy grows around the 4-storey buildings and it is understood as an oasis of peacefulness, of “civilised” cohabitation, as a community of shared values, of stability, trust and intimacy. At the border between the public space on the boulevard and the private space of one’s house, a new type of vicinity, a new type of ‘at home’ is born. Relating themselves to the other inhabitants of the block of flats but also to the amorphous mass of strangers on Victoriei Boulevard, the inhabitants develop new rules for coexisting and using the space. The space behind the tall blocks of flats built in the 50s is no longer only a land plot shared by the people living there, but also a form of living together, of standing apart from the flow of strangers on the boulevard, of getting closer to the neighbours’ community, through oases of peace and stability, experienced as pleasant intimacies. Even if we are told about oases of civilisation, the eyes don’t linger on the garbage that didn't fit in the trash can. Maybe it is there because it comes from the street, and the street becomes a border that separates the vicinities from the rest of the city or maybe it has simply become so commonplace that it no longer attracts the attention.

“So this is a place, how should I say, appreciated by everyone, because behind the block this peacefulness is still there and (...) people are really civilised here. They really are. If you go a bit farther, you don’t even know who passes by, who these people are. Here, the fact that you have this stability creates a peaceful attitude of civilised coexistence.”