Life in Wanderlust

An Affordable Dystopia
January 13, 2012, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Art + Design, Inspiration, Urbanism

plan drawing
via Socks-Studio


I was drawn to this plan drawing and find the proposal for “an affordable dystopia” very similar to the present urban culture of young Americans. I arrived in New York without a smartphone and discovered that this is nearly impossible to survive without, especially in a metropolitan area where Google Maps is accessed multiple times a day. People are also forced to constantly check e-mails and be connected to their workplace. So I understand the concept of “for the immaterial worker the boundaries between life and work are getting completely faded, his work coinciding with his life.”

This proposal would be a great place for someone just entering the professional world (since many of us already are in miniature boxes and forcibly chained to technology to survive). So what does this say about life for emerging “immaterial workers” today? Also, what necessitates that people are clustered? If they all offer different services, there is no rationale for putting them next door to each other, besides emphasizing the social control of the “company.” Overall, I find this proposal as a catalyst for re-evaluating what is considered immaterial work and how the process of such work can become more social and connected to place. Both of which have lost value due to technological advances, but both which contribute to mental well-being.

I am also interested in how the proposal suggests drawing in residents through the “supposed elitism” elicited by the design. Is design becoming elitist? If design is becoming elitist, is it losing value in society? In a world of growing social class polarization, shouldn’t design work towards equalizing standards of living?

Also, I love this line: “Neverending work becomes a moral obligation, a pre-determined path to self improvement as well as a self defense from the social exclusion by unemployment.” This proposal is definitely worth a look, and makes you value those long gone summer vacations of jumping on trampolines and stick sword fighting.


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