This year Dip 3 Meta Urbanism reassessed the potential of collective, eco-logical urban housing and the role of masterplans in the aftershock of the 2008 global economic crisis. Although transformations in communication such as blogging, YouTube, facebook, etc. have allowed radically new forms of connectivity, start-ups and vast e-communities, the impact of these communication tools and networks on our urban environment and on the places we live remains to be seen.
Felix Guattari’s seminal 1989 text The Three Ecologies argues, prophetically, that in order to resist the homogenising forces of visual and electronic media, rampant consumerism and the crisis of global climate change, societies need to support individual creativity and social life within a new collective cultural/environmental project. Such an approach would contribute to ‘a widespread shift in current value systems’ – encouraging our evolution into a more deeply eco-logical society.
Responding to this challenge, Dip 3 has worked from the dwelling micro to the urban macro scale. Our initial project reconsidered the ‘living room’ – its evolution, meanings and conventions – to produce conceptual transformations. The emerging concepts of ‘living room’ fed directly into the ‘Concept House’ project, a reinvention of the British terraced house as a new ‘ecothetical’ urban typology. The social and organisational dwelling concepts developed in the terraced house have become the seeds for the final project: experimental high-density urban housing in White City, the derelict site of the obsolete OMA masterplan.
Each of these large-scale propositions has claimed part of the White City site; each project could be considered the catalyst or ‘lone ranger’ in the territory of the anti-masterplan. Reformatted urban dwelling and hybrid programmes express an urbanism of found local potentials, transformed infrastructures, pioneer eco-communities and productive landscapes. Dip 3’s idiosyncratic and hyper-active projects propose an alternative density of social/ecologies – attuned to the crises of our time.