Domestic Affairs

February 15, 2016, 3:00pm-9.00pm
California College of the Arts
1111 8th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Domestic Affairs is a design-research project undertaken by the Urban Works Agency at CCA that is examining new models of housing, density, and affordability in San Francisco through design. The first in a series of housing symposia, Domestic Affairs #1 brings together a diverse range of speakers—architects, planners, academics, developers, housing advocates, and entrepreneurs—to investigate the role of design in addressing inequality.

Inequality—the measurable socio-economic gap between the wealthy and the impoverished—has become the defining feature of 21st century city. Recently, a report by Oxfam concluded that the richest 62 individuals in the world have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. Perhaps most troubling is the conclusion of The IHS report, which estimated that inequality will grow in the United States and that “income inequality is a structural feature of the 21st-century economy.” As a structural feature, the severity of our present-day inequality calls to question the distribution of power and the health of our current democracy.

The battleground between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is being played out in cities—where these tensions are most apparent—and over housing—a key indicator of wealth distribution and the ‘right to the city’. San Francisco, which boasts a similar level inequality to Madagascar, is at the center of this debate. With the highest rental prices in the country, San Francisco is emblematic of the growing tensions over space. If housing and ownership of space are at the core of defining inequality, could architecture and form be more central in addressing the widening gap between the rich and poor?

The first panel will examine the Right to the City and the mechanism by which design and form can engage a diverse public. Following this, Imminent Urbanism(s) will discuss non-familial intentional communities and how they have been adapting the products of existing real estate paradigms to new forms of collectivity. Domestic Affairs #1 will conclude with public lectures and a discussion on Inequality and Collective Form and feature Pier Vittorio Aureli and Reinhold Martin—two central figures whose research asks how design can play a larger political and organizational role within discussions of inequality.

This event is organized by The Urban Works Agency in conjunction with Imminent Urbanism(s), and supported by The California College of the Arts