Restrictions related to residences on the boulevard and new urban frontiers: “behind, it's something else

Besides boulevard-specific features, such as noise and congestion, a large boulevard is also an additional driving force that exerts pressure,


taking away from the naturalness and spontaneity of the people in their everyday conduct. The boulevard “exhausts us... In the sense that it creates a lot of noise and confusion for anything – when you cross the street, you must check if you have put on your street shoes. You can’t go there in your slippers […]. It is a boulevard, after all. You cannot leave the house with your kitchen apron on... and it somehow manipulates your life, you don’t act normally any more... You always have to reset yourself, again and again.”

 

Getting from block front, from the boulevard, to the area behind the block is a difficult journey as the narrow path is blocked by a vehicle. Then, the footway winds unnaturally, narrowed at times and sometimes enlarged towards the block of flats or nearby houses, bordered by concrete frontiers and full of cars. Unlike the city profile designed by the specialists and delineated by the main road axes, a new common space erects itself behind the blocks. It encompasses the land plots that have remained following the demolition of houses in the 80s. Also called the “block yard” and used for parking, this space brings along new forms of coexistence and territorial negotiations between different types of tenants and property owners: the people residing in the block, the people residing in the houses behind the block and which were spared from demolition, the former owners of the lands whose properties were demolished and received remedy in the past, the owners that currently claim the lands and then have them fenced while giving them no utility, the owners of the cars who use the block yard as a parking space. The high and opaque fences that separate the block yard from the yards of the houses that were spared from demolition express the relationships between them and the zigzag manner in which the tenants deal with the space constraints through negotiation. They do not delineate mere land plots or types of property, but also different residence forms and practices.

“Behind, it’s something else. There, behind, we actually use the former yards of people (...), we are somehow using the land of the former owners (...) who obliviously received some sort of remedy, some living space... Our yard has somehow become the fence of the other ones, who remained on the side streets spared from demolition.”

“This is how it usually started, with some tall blocks of flats facing the street, the idea being to build other blocks behind in the future. You see, this is the other boulevard. So all these neighbouring yards should have disappeared. We are in the car park lot belonging to the block, which is pretty empty now, meaning that although many cars come and go, the drivers have somewhat civilised themselves (...) And some people started to claim their former yards or premises, but this isn’t good either, because they simply have them fenced them without bringing any other improvements for ten years now. Here, in the block yard, so to say, their yard is the back of other houses. This is how it used to be: a row of houses, a yard, another yard, a row of houses overlooking the street. This is how they had been designed and all this area was to be demolished so as to reach to the other boulevard.”