The lonely club, re-establishing the social network


Throughout “Sapiens- A Brief History of Humankind” Dr. Yuval Noah Harari argues that Homo Sapiens are social animals and that the Digital Revolution is asking Sapiens to evolve faster than ever in our history. Theoretically the Digital Revolution offers infinite opportunities for social exchange, knowledge transfer and social mobility and yet, paradoxically, the UK population is experiencing alarming statistics of social and economic division, loneliness and isolation. The once social animal is now struggling to keep pace with evolutionary demands, resulting in a frustrated and antisocial UK.

As feelings of disfranchisement and disempowerment grow, alongside unaffordable contexts, this generation has been raised in a social media world. Yet, alarming statistics from Generation Z are starting to show the rejection of social media platforms and traditional social constructs. Resulting in a generation rethinking the live, work and learning patterns passed from our predecessors, as well as rediscovering analogue, rather than digital, social networks. Through Co Habitation, Co-Living, Co-Working models Open Source Learning and Free Ware initiatives the sharing of physical, intellectual and technological space is increasing, becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

Thesis: Within this context, this thesis explores different of models dwelling, through retrofitting and governed space standards, developing a mixed-use proposal that focuses upon progressing a live, work, free knowledge and skills exchange co-living model, which has the potential to be a viable alternative to the current UK housing crisis. Through sharing and cohabitation, this thesis, explores a substitute to current housing policies and addresses issues of affordability, social mobility, exchange and healing whilst creating a physical truly social network.

Site: The mass disposal of M.O.D Barracks sites within our Cities provides the potential canvas for beginning to explore the formation of this societal shift. Economically by Local Authorities, gifting this land to the vulnerable and gaining capital from those able to do so, this thesis argues that the longer-term State burden of providing social housing, adult education, un-employment and sickness benefits could be proven to be dramatically reduced through long term goals, rather than a short financial gain. Conceptually the historic physical and social structures of the barrack’s highly controlled micro community, which has a wider role in the protection of society, provides an interesting counter point to, and synergy with, the emerging thesis. These sites provide existing infrastructure, which are explored through time lined phases within this thesis, and is developed upon to maximise the sites potential, reduce financial burdens on the Local Authorities, whilst creating a in a co-living community.