The media, particularly, North American television, has depicted suburbia as an idyllic place where happy 2-parents family raise children and dogs surrounded by tidy gardens and white picket fences.

Our group has re-assessed this notion with our own, individual geographic/cultural backgrounds as filters with the intention of contrasting/comparing them; hence, widening the scope of our research to look at the notion of suburbia across myriad contexts.

Our first impressions of Wenduine were mainly contradictory with the media portrayed idea of suburbia we mentioned earlier; we met blind façades, empty public spaces and gardens and elderly single people. Immediately, it was an immediate comment on context

According to a European study (LaCoAst), the Belgian coastline is globally not more urbanized than the rest of Europe. These areas, however, are concentrated in the first 3 km near by the water. In the case of Wenduine, the city is effectively built along two main infrastructures: the historical axis leading to the church, and the main road which carries the coastline tramway, subsequently, sprawling inland.

 

 

The area is divided in strips, delineated by physical and/or visual barriers which create enclosed “islands” and prevent connections between neighbourhoods. A cursory look reveals road infrastructure (highways, dead ends, restricted circulation), Tall buildings (eight or more stories), bars on the shoreline, etc.

Travelling through different scales, it seems obvious that this boundary pattern is among the main characteristics of Wenduine. Formal car space is omnipresent, leaving little room for soft mobility. People seem to deal with privacy by raising fences all around their properties. The general arrangement encourages high privacy levels as there is an intentional visual disconnectionbetween facing facades.

One of the main challenges in Wenduine could be the duality of its annual activity; where the city is besieged by thousands of tourists in summer, and practically deserted during the rest of the year, save for the permanent population of elderly/retired people, who are quite content with the peace and calm.

 

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