Ferrol Vello, the old town of the third larger metropolitan areas of the Autonomous Community of Galicia (Spain) (163,669 inhabitants in 2009) Clear example of social and physical disorder in urban metropolis. I used to walk by this place a few years ago when I was living in Ferrol. It just poped up in my mind when reading the call for papers for the session “Understanding Social and Physical Disorder in the Urban Metropolis” within the International Sociological Association held in Japan past July. The session description suggests that this kind of disorders may be caused by different reasons.
That disorder is not reducible to objective measurements of crime or social problems. While the presence of disorder can signal that an area is vulnerable, triggering the exodus of residents and businesses, in other neighbourhoods disorder can represent diversity and a cultural edginess.
In this case, it seems rather obvious that the social and physical disorder responds more to the second option, i.e. it is a signal that the area is vulnerable, triggering the exodus of residents and businesses. Ferrol is a shipyard city that has been suffering from shrinkage since the economic restructuring in the 80′, as well as certain incapacity to face the crisis in certain years.
Furthermore, the specific pictures that I uploaded refer to a very specific location within the old town. According to my informants, this area used to hold high prostitution activity during the boom experienced by the city in the shipbuilding industry in previous decades.