Infrastructural Vulnerabilities

October 8, 2018

Metro station › Arbetsvyer (personliga - EJ på ritning) › E

“This idea of “support” is quite important not only for the re-theorization of the acting body, but for the broader politics of mobility – what architectural supports have to be in place for each of us to exercise a certain freedom of movement, one that is necessary in order to exercise the right to public assembly.”  Judith Butler


Life of a suburban subway station

For being a rather small subway station and suburb, I find it rather populated. Most people moving around the metro station are, rather naturally, just passing by. Maybe because the entrance hall is so small, you hardly ever see someone standing inside. There is just not enough space, especially when people are flowing up from the platform. There is no kiosk or shop that makes you want to linger there. Usually people wait outside if they are meeting someone.

In doing this writing, I find it troublesome to describe and classify people into categories, since reality is more complex then what first meets the eye. So, I do categories people in this text, but I am not claiming that I am describing the full and complex reality.

Usually there are some people sitting on the benches outside. During the days and afternoons, it is often people drinking or being drunk, and they seem to mainly sit on the bench by the station building. This is people that doesn’t seem to have a job to go to, or who you can say doesn’t fit in into the middle-class group that dominate this area. On the bench around the tree, there seem to be a more varied crowd of people sitting. It is a bit like the two benches have different usages, even though they are so close to each other. Sometimes Jehovah’s Witnesses stand outside the entrance with their folders. And they also use mainly the bench adjacent to the building. There is often one person sitting outside the entrance, begging for money. It is different persons, but always only one. Also, it is common that a person sits and beg just close to where the escalators land on the platform. These people usually say “hej hej” or “god morgon” and smile to you. Some people answer, talk or give them something, while some people ignore them. In the evenings, groups of young people hang out around the subway station. Groups that I noticed rather often, are young men, standing with their legs wide, hands in their pockets, spitting on the ground. It seems like the square is their meeting point, their common living room. Organizations like “Safe streets” show up sometimes, and a few times I’ve seen a police car. It is a bit “messy” in the evenings sometimes, according to the local newspapers. But most people I think feel safe here. The mix of people here seem to work, people co-exists. It doesn’t seem to be a big need for security or surveillance. There are cafés, restaurants, shops and playgrounds nearby, which means that people populate the area for different reasons during many ours of the day.

The subway is called “public transportation”, although it is not for everyone. Some people have problems to afford tickets, especially if you have a low income. Some people solve this by “planka”, travel without a ticket, but surely some people don’t want to do that. If you get caught the fines are high. So, who is included in the “public” and who is not? How does it effect a person to not fit in into the norm “public”, but to be left outside?

Helena Eriksson

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