Call for Submissions // The Site Magazine: Economies of Joy
The Site Magazine
Issue 3: Economies of Joy (2022)
In the second half of 2021, promises for a “return to normal” were made by governments around the world; politicians reassured us that the economic trajectory since 2008 could be restored. But, as COVID restrictions lifted, workers united around another idea. In the past six months, millions have voluntarily left their jobs, joined trade unions, or taken to digital forums to ignite the #antiwork movement. The post-pandemic context of work – longer hours, working from home, health risks for front-line workers – has led individuals around the world to question neoliberal values, the capitalist economic system, career-focused corporate culture, and most importantly their desire to return to “normal”.
Under this revolt against exploitative economic conditions, there has never been a better moment to reconsider how we live and work together. We are at a critical junction where idleness and fulfillment has the opportunity to be celebrated. Can we question current systems in pursuit of alternative “economies of joy”?
The pursuit of economic alternatives and architectural realities are inextricably tied. One example occurred fifty years ago, between 1967 and 1971, when over half a million individuals left their homes in the cities and set out to create new, experimental communities on the West Coast. Like the “great resignation” of 2021, these communes established themselves in opposition to centralized economic power. Their emblematic dwellings were the geodesic domes designed by Buckminster Fuller. The domes served as both a structural metaphor for decentralized power dynamics – which the communes celebrated – and a symbolic locus for the new collectivist society.
In spring 2022, The Site Magazine will explore the idea that architecture and design is critical to the performance of diverse economies. We are interested in essays, research, design work, and conceptual projects that explore the relationship between the built environment and economic models that have the potential to empower, unite, and bring joy (under any definition of the word) to individuals, communities, and society. These can include enduring concepts like the commons, new approaches like the circular economy, or futuristic propositions like the metaverse.
Topics we are currently exploring include post-capitalist or anti-capitalist spaces, ethical interactions with natural resources, co-operative practices that protect and empower marginalized communities, traditional and contemporary Indigenous economic practices, “economies of care” that address personal and collective well-being, and alternative marketplaces that enable welfare and solidarity.
Issue 3: Economies of Joy will follow closely behind issues one and two, Healed Outcomes and The Edit. Together, these issues examine the role that design can play in enabling systemic change in contemporary society.
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