BA Unit 2: Global Localisation – The New World Dis-Order. Anja Kempa & Louis Sullivan

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield, 1982

The world is in the death-throws of its previous self – and out of that chaos, a new world will emerge.

But what will it look like?

There presents (perhaps) an opportunity for localisation to prosper, for the trend of de-centralisation to reach ever further into all facets of society, culture, industry, and for our collective thinking to free itself from the ‘out of site, out of mind’ nimbyism of the built environment in the 20th century, and return towards acceptance, contextual awareness and regional specialisation.

Are the roles of country and city reversed?

This year, we will model and mould, scribble and scrawl, investigate and interrogate, draw to implore, contort to create, manipulate, masterplan and manifest.

Whatever it takes to sew the seeds of our new world.

The myriad impacts of Globalism on the world we live in has undoubtedly changed it, for better or worse. Revered and idolized throughout the 20th Century, at the start of the 21st Century, globalised free trade has eaten itself. It was billed as a way of spreading wealth throughout the world, by out- sourcing jobs, and production so that back home we could benefit from cheap goods while simultaneously providing money to the world’s poorest, but that has exacerbated inequality, centralized manufacture, and spearheaded the removal of the vernacular whilst spreading generic junkspace.

Several countries have already raised their concerns at a national level, highlighting the impact of such a connected society on awareness of local culture. For example; Isolationist Japan instigated an embargo against the importation of rice; despite the fact that the grain is far more expensive for the country to produce itself than to buy in from other countries. The movement was made in the interest of preservation of local culture and subsequently business hubs in Tokyo saw installations of rice paddies nurtured by office workers spring up over the city in the interest of educating the globalised youth of their country heritage.

The current pandemic has flipped our built environment, by allowing individuals to re-evaluate their locale. Work From home is already leading to the de-centralisation of major cities, and a new and lasting appreciation for wellness and experiencing the outdoors. Through the current pandemic, we find we are increasingly aware of ourselves as individuals; existing within a restricted physical footprint and social circle, but simultaneously increasingly connected and aware of the world around us.

Can we use this as an opportunity to rethink the function of ‘the city’ and how it operates? What could become of the now baron central city areas as businesses reconsider the need and value of open plan offices and large areas of what 6 months ago were bustling overcrowded streets of workers stand today abandoned and unused?