‘An autonomous Society is origin of the significations it creates -of its institution- and it knows it self as such. Autonomous Society is a society that self-institutes itself explicitly. This amount to saying: it knows that the significations in and through which it lives and exists as society are its work [oeuvre] and that they are neither necessary or contingent’.
Cornelius Castoriades - The World in Fragments.
The main purpose of the autonomous city is to resist against the pursuit of growth and develop-
ment per se, and offer the ground for an alternative evolution of the communities. The principal tool of this pursuit is the total elimination of external infrastructure (motoerways, railways, airports, power grid, telecommunications). The existence of those amenities is driven by and built for growth. However, a domesticated basic infrastructure serves as a platform for the well-being and equality of the community’s members.
The development of the city is based on the urban/rural continuum. That is, since the city has to produce everything needed for its survival, the food production has to be sufficient to support the community. This dependence on food production is the main lever to guarantee the size of the city. Agriculture covers a minimum of 25% of the entire land.
The formal state maintains control of access to food and water, while being responsible for the distribution of those goods both in the city and the agricultural land. Thus, development cannot extend further than access to those goods allow.
The collection and distribution of those goods will be opperated by limited pieces of infrastructure that will be run by the stateand will eventually define the operational boundaries of the city
Since the city has no infrastructural connection beyond its boundaries, the building materials have to originate from within the natural resources of the city. Most likely, those materials will be clay bricks, rammed earth, and wood, in case of a forested area is located within or close to the boundaries of the city. Distant resources will not be used as there is no infrastructure that will provide access to them. Limited materials equals limited building typology. Therefore, the size, height and form of the building is most likely to follow some specifications and patterns imposed by itself the available material.
The boundary of the autonomous city needs to be an icon;a symbolic representation of the limits of the city that satisfy three conditions:
Indicate the conventional, non permanent character of the limits, and the fact that they could be trespassed at any given moment
Lack of any kind of program so as never to become a necessity for the society, Its presence simply constitutes a monument of the current social institution.
Status: School Project
Location: Cambridge, MA, US
My Role: Author