With the film project "Borderline", landscape architect Johanna Bratel and filmmaker Sebastian Peña explore border cities as examples of political geography. These places provide an opportunity to consider issues of security, freedom, architecture, independence and identity. They are hoping to inspire a discussion about how different types of boundaries shape the physical environment and affect the lives of the people who reside there.

NICOSIA (Cyprus)

Nicosia in Cyprus is Europe's largest divided city. Barbed-wire fences and military checkpoints split the city (and island) into a Greek-Cypriot and a Turkish-Cypriot side. A buffer zone cuts through the heart of the historic city centre. Decades of separation have caused both a physical and a psychological separation of the two sides of the city.


San Diego and Tijuana are close to spreading into each other across the border between the USA and Mexico. The combined population of approx. 5 million makes these cities the world's largest binational urban area. A daily reciprocal flow of migrants, work and services, and water and waste moves between the cities. At the same time, this large urban area is now being split by a growing security barricade and an increasingly militarized border control.


Baltimore in the USA is a city divided – between black and white, and poor and rich. Segregation has been built into the urban planning. Despite being repealed in the 1960s, the discriminatory housing laws still shape the city. Nowadays, the methods of division and isolation are more subtle. In Baltimore, a child's prospects depend largely on which side of the tracks they were born.


Santa do Livramento in Brazil and Rivera in Uruguay have grown together to form a twinned city. Residents and tourists move freely between the two. It can even be difficult to know which country you are in. All customs controls take place outside of the cities. It is popular, and often profitable, to shop on the "other" side.