London is a game of life or death in 'Metropoly'
Aug 31, 2016
“The city has long been a tool for social development and progression,” writes Adam Fryett in Metropoly, his submission to Archinect’s open call for August. “It is clear however that the neoliberal age of consumer capital has led to a regression of the social standards of modern city development, leading to a vast reduction in both the quality of life and life itself of a vast number of inhabitants.”
August's open call solicited projects that imagined new version of the classic board game Monopoly, updated to cohere with the contemporary city and the forces that create it. If Monopoly responded to the era of robber barons, Metropoly grapples with the 21st century, “defined entirely by cognitive cultural capitalism”—or the city of the post-Fordist, “knowledge economy”. Metropoly grapples with the 21st century, “defined entirely by cognitive cultural capitalism”
Courtesy of Adam Fryett. Courtesy of Adam Fryett. Taking London as a case study, the project analyzes an era in which urban centers, rather than ensuring the social welfare of their inhabitants, are oriented exclusively around the sustained production of capital through the cultivation of pleasure and leisure. Entire populations, because of socio-economic prejudices,Effectively, the city is able to administer a control of the quality of life, and ultimately death, of its citizens can neither benefit from nor participate in the pleasure systems of the neoliberal city, and are subjected to social and/or physical death as a result. “Effectively, the city is able to administer a control of the quality of life, and ultimately death, of its citizens, governing a ‘metro-necropolitical’ control of the city,” Fryett writes. “Whilst the city dictates those who are marked for ‘social death’, its continued growth manifests serious cases of physical death, harbouring issues of overpopulation, air pollution, crime and the rise of urban induced social stress disorders leading to anxiety, depression and increased mortality.”
Courtesy of Adam Fryett. Courtesy of Adam Fryett. An essay in the form of a game board, Fryett’s project was written for a Masters in Architecture degree at the University of Greenwich. Each ‘property square’ represents one section of the essay. “Metropoly aims to show how our current fixation on the rapid over-development of pleasure and leisure capitals has transformed the city into a machine for killing,” Fryett writes, “rather than the machine for living in as defined by Le Corbusier and the Modernist movement of the early 20th century.”
This feature was submitted to our August open call for projects that reimagine Monopoly for the 21st century city. For more features from this month's special theme, Games , follow this link.