A City after the End Times

A proposal for a city after the End Times. 

“We talk all the time about the end of the world, but it is much easier for us to imagine the end of the world than a small change in the political system. Life on earth maybe will end, but somehow capitalism will go on.”
- Slavoj Žižek

Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, argues that we are now ‘living in the end times’. Such language is motivated by the scale of social and irreversible geological change currently underway. However, despite widening recognition of the notion of anthropocene’, a new geological epoch in which human activity has led to irreversible climate change, we largely continue to live in the same ways as we did before within an accelerating urbanisation. The relationship between urban social, economic and political alienation and the ecological crisis suggests that the ‘anthropocene’ has deeper roots in urban society.

To fully address this ecological crisis, this project makes architectural proposals which simultaneously tackle urban ecological alienation across the domestic, economic and political spheres of the city. 

The city of Melencolia is a psychotopography, existing in a state of extreme solipsism in the mind of a failed explorer; a metaphor for the global social failure which has led to the state of ‘anthropocene’. Acknowledging the ecological apocalypse of the ‘anthropocene’, the city is sited and thrives on a series of dissolving salt deposit islands in the harsh climatic context of the arctic tundra. Born out of the explorer’s plunge into depression, the city takes its form from the fragmented ‘states’ of the id, ego and superego. 

In the ‘id’ state, the lens of the plumber is used to show how the city provides for basic desires; the essential services of heating, electricity, lighting and water. 

In the ‘ego’ state, the lens of the postman deals with everyday reality and provides a view of domestic life in the city. 

The final state is a physical manifestation of a landscape of the ‘super ego’, perceived through the eyes of the councillor, and explores the organizational functioning of the city: an alternative vision of the landscape of urban governance.