Pret A Habiter – “Ready to Inhabit” –

Lecture Date: 2016-03-06

Speakers: Alex Stephany, David Greene, John Palmesino, Harriet Harriss, Fabrizio Ballabio, Ioana Man, Sofia Belenky, mediated by Sahir Patel

Feel at home in Paris, New York, London, Tokyo and Berlin; simultaneously.

“Home”, once a personal “fortress of solitude”, now an online commodity everywhere, marks a tidal shift in a subtle transition towards a newfound sharing economy. As our notions of the public, private, temporary, permanent, generic and specific, are yet again challenged by indistinguishability. We, who “arrive as locals” and “belong anywhere,” must recondition our archaic understanding of mobility and domesticity in an ever-increasing world of virtual “sharing”, and its inherent archetype of ‘nomadicity’; we must update the way we construct not just our built environment, but relationships among ourselves, and our possessions. However, in desirable urban spaces, AirBnB is facilitating the cultivation of a gentrified monoculture that jeopardizes diversity. Consequently, an AirBnB neighborhood is not a profitable means to collectively consume, but an international bedroom community of “post-tourist” mobile workers. AirBnB makes cities more affordable, as its influx of guests undertakes a much more utilitarian approach to the urban realm, yet raises questions as to whether this form of social behavior liberates or further entraps our society; as these newly administered laws of exchange slowly relieve us of a sense of ownership and identity.

Perhaps the homo-economicus does not fully comprehend the urban implications of their contribution to gentrification, but will it matter once everywhere wears the same nordic furniture, stocks the same chicken sandwich, and pours the same Seattle coffee?


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