TERRITORIES

Post 697 –by Gautam Shah

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A territory is a defended area, marked with body odours or physical intervention (occupation, dis-figuration, scratching), by an animal or group of animals. Biologically this is physically or metaphysically a barricaded zone, against others of the same sex or species. Territory is an identity through perception (visual, aural, olfactory, tactile, etc.) and the physical reach. Territories are zones of offense and defense.

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Territories emerge where the commonalities of concepts, or ideologies are intense in time and space. A territory is an acknowledged area ability, fields of activity or domain of experience. Territories emerge as social groups with compatible manners. Political territories are zones marked by confirmation to an administering power.

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Territories surface because fables, stories, etc. have spatial components that spread across a large terrain. Territories appear as abutting a geographical feature like coast, bank praecipe, etc., and also as intervening spatial occupation within geographical or built marks. Such interposes, however, divides a recognized territory.

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A space zone with finite bounding features may form a territory, unless the users or occupants set in a life style more pervasive for the place or space. Territory formation is continuing process involving sensorial, cultural and social processes. Berlin’s wall created political territories but failed to erase the past connections. It would have taken several generations to severe the social connections, but the architectural or spatial connections are longer lasting.

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A Territory is a continuing process that gets reshaped into multiple sections, but still the holistic nature of the original persists. Inversely, conquest of adjacent territories to form a kingdom has not worked well. The basic need for governance is the reach of control and communication. Invaders like Alexander, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, etc. were handicapped on both of these counts due to the horse travel. Europe’s Colonists nations were impaired by armies of local people. WW- I, lessons were of logistics, and Hitler tried to upgrade it, but so did everyone else. To continue to maintain territorial status of a place, one must reach every part of it. Internet allows that reach, conquering many barriers.

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Buildings are domain former. The spatial scale of a built-form combined with the arousal of intense sense of belonging forms a territory. Buildings revered (for style, historical connections) and visited by large number of people form a domain. Buildings become “spatial generators, not only in the immediate vicinity, but also at larger geographic scales”. (From Building to Continent: How Architecture makes Territories > https://architexturez.net/pst/az-cf-185522-1512539002). The street pattern and activities in the surroundings are in confirmation of the building. These are centric territories with focussed physical and visual connection, so the territorial power diminishes when these connections are reconfigured or erased. The convergent connections are part of the ‘ceremony’ for validation of the territory.

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A territory gets confirmed through living or occupation. The life does not permeate the historical remain like Pompeii. How does occupying and living in a space make it a territorial emblem? Is it an acknowledgement of higher order of organization? Is territory a livable space within a larger place?

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The Territory emerged from the Proto-Indo-European root ‘ters’ (‘to dry’), to the Latin word terra (‘earth, land’), and later to the word ‘territorium’ (‘land around a town’). Territory as word, made its debut in Middle English during the 14th C. At this point the suffix –orium, was replaced with –ory both of  them mean place.

Space, place and territory are interdependent but not interchangeable”. (–Space. Place and Territory a critical review on Spatialities –Fábio Duarte.).

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