Image: Ralph Willet Lucas, Cottage, Greenwich Peninsula, c. 1840

From each according to his imagination, to each according to his needs.

Charles Stross (after Karl Marx)

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at.

Oscar Wilde

In 1946 the Labour Government under the leadership of Clement Atlee initiated one of the most profound social transformations in the history of British society with the formation of the welfare state. This new system sought to establish institutions that guaranteed basic levels of education, health care and accommodation for all the nation’s citizens. However with the rise of recent neo-liberal ideologies we have witnessed the erosion of those ideals and an assumption that the market is best suited to meeting all of societies needs.

The promise of technological advances in the so-called NBIC (nano-bio-info-cogno) technologies herald dramatic transformations in the way society organises itself; questioning the hegemonic orthodoxies of late capitalism and the assumptions of the state as the main organiser of social apparatus. Prospects of abundance, increased longevity, technological augmentation, and new spatial practices heralded by a world of mixed realities challenge the traditional assumptions about the way we organise employment, education and healthcare within the spaces of everyday life.

This year Unit 15 students will speculate upon the architectural implications of these new social transformations in the near future, through the formation of new building types and forms, the introduction of new spaces both actual and virtual, and new forms of agency and spatial practice. To achieve this students will be encouraged to embrace ideas about the progressive and liberating aspects of technology and to develop a critical attitude with respect to the dogma of the ‘free market’.

Year 1 projects will be located on the Greenwich peninsula and will both incorporate and challenge some of the existing infrastructure. Year 2 students will be able to choose from sites on the peninsula, or in East Greenwich and Thamesmead.

Students will be expected to use film and animation to generate, develop and represent their projects, and while students do not need experience working with the moving image, a commitment to working with time-based media is essential.

Unit 15 believes that any concept of the future should be for the betterment of all.