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Through its commoditization and acquiescence to the demands of the market, architecture has increasingly become marginalized, if not circumvented, from its role as an aid to humanity and society. It is therefore proposed that if we are to consider the future transformation of our cities, then the communities within them must be given priority as stakeholders. The legibility of on-the-ground conditions and the communication of community needs and aspirations through collective intelligence will become ever-pressing concerns as the pressure for space and amenities in our cities increases in favour of late capitalist occupation and mobility rather than as shared resource for all. If, as both Fredric Jameson (1994) and, more recently, Mark Fisher (2009) have suggested, “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”, then we need to fundamentally rethink the means through which we may achieve effective, adaptive and contingent political mobilization to positively alter the urban landscape. The potentially reformative power of data, ceded to the masses, may provide the necessary impetus toward a substantial restructuring of the city, but only if its systems are capable of negotiating the attendant issues of governance, antitrust policy and security measures. If we really are living in the end times of Žižek, we need to energetically and openly engage with the provision of a framework to evolve ‘intelligent terrain’ that is participatory and enabling. This paper therefore seeks to respond to the material and immaterial flows that constitute the contemporary urban condition in relation to its governance, communities and the (re)configuration of space.
|Keywords:||Architecture, Communities, Governance, Local, Material and Immaterial Flows, Post-capitalist Landscapes, Urbanism|
Principal Lecturer, Architecture, Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester, Lancashire, UK