changing cities // conquering cities

I rarely feel at home, and to feel at home, I have to be familiar with the place that has to feel like home. I get very personally attached to spaces and places and houses and rooms, and anything that defines space. I have difficulty changing habitat, not in settling in, but in feeling the new place as my home. Actually, not even that. I have difficulty in feeling safe and dominant in a place, if I don’t know it like the back of my hand. I have difficulty in feeling that I have “conquered” a place, if I don’t know every street, every get-away passage, all the emergency exits, the way out and the way in. Be it a house, or a building or a neighborhood or the whole city. In the last 25 years, that is, my whole life, I have been living in Athens, Greece. In the same house. Since then I have explored the whole city. A few years ago I realized how large Athens is, and how much is yet to be seen, how infinite it is, so I started searching for anything I had not discovered yet in the city. And started reading about its history. It took me 25 years, and still, I am sure, is so much more to see. I have travelled a lot around the world, but I have realized now that the trip within a city is never ending. Now I can brag about how well I know Athens.

So when I moved in London, the transition was hard. During the three months I have lived here, I feel I know well one part of the city, and have already started having specific routes that I follow every day, or every Saturday. Still London remains huge and unknown. To my mind it is not only a terra incognita, it is more of a terra pericolosa, undiscovered and dangerous. But, just how big London is I have not realized yet. Since the day I came here I have been trying to get to know London. I have posted maps on my walls of different scales and I read them all day, to have the picture engraved in my mind, like the map of Athens is, now. Up until now I have developed a good sense of orientation when I am in the street. I know which way is which place. But what I lack in and what I have also been trying to understand is the difference in the scale of the city.

___to be continued

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About Katerina

Katerina Skroumpelou is an architectural engineer, and currently a PhD candidate at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. Her research interests revolve around the concepts of the Internet of Things, the future of cities and the technological and social aspects that arise. Katerina is a front-end developer at Upstream. In the past, she worked as a web developer at the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos". Before diving into web development, she studied Architectural Engineering and she holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. She also took a number of post-graduate courses at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of NTUA. She is indigenous to the internet, and she loves web development. So much that she does not understand the distinction between work and life sometimes. Or so her friends say. She lives with her Maine Coon in Athens, Greece.

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