Work details
Application Number 0001001863
Author McIntyre, Eleanor , United Kingdom
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Work title: Virtually Interconnected _ Physically Self Sufficient (0001001863)

People are connected through continued electronic exchanges to such an extent that they are almost disconnected from the physical environment they inhabit. An invisible, virtual network allows for this constant connection between people. People’s senses are numbed; journeys are a blur of imagery as people become unaware of their surroundings and physically disconnected from the people around them. They are focused on their destination in this vision-dominated, individual, yet highly connected city. Why not take this a step further and convert everything digitally? A virtual hub in the centre of the city and ample technology supplied to homes would allow people to work and live without the daily commute in order to access resources and meet people. WHO? Cities buzz with students, business people, elderly and deviants, all of whom have specific desires and destinations. Intensification of leisure activities in the form of hybrid entertainment complexes, shops, parks, historic buildings and sports centres maintain the life and heart of the city. The diverse leisure activities of the city become concentrated. Travel times and costs revolving around work and study would be drastically diminished allowing for more leisure time. WHERE? Global networks would form over time allowing the world to operate from their local town. But it shall begin with Manchester, a city of continuous change, which played a great part in the industrial revolution, influencing the identity of the city. Evolving into a modern heart of North West England, Manchester is entering the digital age with a very strong sense of place. The enhancement of the virtual layer of the city improves efficiency without losing it’s energy and spirit; maintaining a connection to the reality of Manchester through increasing time for leisure and ‘walkable’ exploration. HOW? In the current economic climate, the Government is keen to minimize all possible costs. The scheme opens up new places to live through the reuse of existing structures, leading to Government re-homing schemes. Efficient living through reduced travel time and therefore costs as well as home growing schemes could help to pull the country out of the recession. Countries like China, with a rapidly growing telecommunications industry, could invest their technology, with the knowledge that a large supply chain of technology would spread following the recession, dramatically increasing their sales. Overseas investment in technology would allow more people to use the new systems and accelerate the growth of the scheme. Manchester, although the sense of place is strong, has merged from several smaller communities, into a large mass. Populations of these smaller districts thrive in community environments, and so the scheme brings people together. WHAT? Separate settlements form, each supplied with a vast amount of technological support, with surrounding ‘green belts’ of dismantled structures, providing space for local farming, leading to a more self-sufficient urbanism. A central hub acts as a base for technologically demanding activities, such as virtual-sensual conference calls where senses other than sound and vision are communicated. The simulation is as if the other people are there as in a physical conference today. The hub is designed to create deep spatial experiences through texture, smell, light and sound as well as providing this strong virtual link: it eradicates the potential issue whereby people become separated by time and space, ‘technology must not mean that the actual experience of the city is superseded’ (Urban Visions). Activities of working and living are combined, as people tend to work from home. Homeless are re-homed through government schemes while others are moved nearer to the hub, improving living conditions throughout. Those who need the back alleys, dark corners and derelict places of the past, inhabit ‘black holes’ that develop between settlements as they pull apart from each other. It is an un-policed area to which criminals are banished, as opposed to going to prison. This is an affordable utopia where people can enjoy the pleasures of the city, family and friends sustainably without the distance that work and study can create. SYNTHESIS. A hub is created in the centre of each district. Technology is supplied to all homes in the city, allowing people to work from home. Workplaces, rendered useless, are converted into homes, where people living in the outskirts, as well as homeless people, are moved. This concentrated settlement gradually deconstructs around the periphery, defining the settlement. Over time, the countryside reclaims its land, creating a rural band. Urban farming takes place here, providing a large portion of food for the settlement. Outside this green belt, black holes form, engulfing the derelict urban area between settlements. The hub is initially fueled by burning elements of the deconstructed material and the settlements’ books, paper and hard copies: would there really be a need for them?! This is a utopia where small communities are people’s hometown, and travel is a leisure activity rather than a necessity.