Over the past seven years, we've been studying the different types of conflicts that affect territories around the world:
From the impacts of the Arab Israeli conflict on the longest continuously inhabited city on Earth... to the Syrian/Jordanian border where thousands of refugees are stranded in No Man's Land... to Central America where drought and climate change are propelling migration to the United States... to Bosnia & Croatia where the Balkan Conflict destroyed invaluable cultural heritage and patrimony... to New York City where children attend the most racially segregated public schools in the nation...
No matter where the conflict takes place or how long it’s been going on, we've noticed they all share similar patterns.
Conflict relies on “othering”: the systematic use of a device that demarcates a difference between an “us” and a “them”. These devices can range from racial to national to socioeconomic. Similarly, territorial conflict is based on the “this is ‘ours’ and that is ‘theirs’,” premise that permeates the built environment. This is evident in neighborhoods, cities, and nation-states. These universal attitudes have led us to believe that the antidote to conflict is empathy. Therefore, if a conflict is spatial, then so too must empathy. At Territorial Empathy, we aim to understand “othering” and identify opportunities for applied empathy. Through this methodology, we aim to advocate for mediation, equity, and resolution to complex urban issues around race, climate, and migration.