Urban Works Agency,  A Seat at the Table – Decision-Making

Urban Works Agency, A Seat at the Table – Decision-Making


Project: A Seat at the Table
Date: Sep 08 - March 24
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

At a moment when people feel increasingly disconnected from governments and corporations at the top and fringe groups at the bottom, we ask: How can power be reimagined through alternative forms of self-governance? A Seat at the Table presents a series of design-research projects that examine tools for decision-making over two realms — the domestic household and the city.
Urban Works Agency, A Seat at the Table – Negotiating the Domestic Commons

At the scale of the home, the communes of San Francisco present a series of unique experiments in self-governance. Our “Domestic Affairs” design-research looks at the intentions and institutions of contemporary collective living experiments in the Bay. Analyzing these domestic spaces through their spatial and social types as well as political ideology, the research aims to identify inherent patterns within the shifting conceptions of the public and private spheres. Presented in the exhibition are documented case studies of communal living—their spatial manifestation, scales of sharing, and governance structure—as well as projective design proposals represented through physical models with augmented reality.

Working at the scale of the city, “Win-Win” is a series of board games that play out climate change scenarios. By designing interactions among players, objectives and resources, these games model the political and spatial implications of innovative financial and legal strategies. In turn, they act as economic and architectural models to serve as a new kind of decision-making tool for our contemporary risk society. Presented in the exhibition is a board game called ‘Bartertown’, which is unpacked through a video of its use and an array of game parts that suggest its potential misuse. Parts include player tokens, currency, chance devices, assets, and rules both from common games and speculative ones we will create and test.

Credits: The Urban Works Agency (Neeraj Bhatia, Janette Kim, Christopher Roach and Antje Steinmuller, with Shahad Alamoudi, Jason Anderson, Marwan Barmasood, Georgia Came, Denisse Correa Guerra, Alma Davila, Mira De Avila-Shin, Shiyun Fan, Alli Foronda, Eric Fura, Francisco Garcia, Jessica Grinaker, Clare Hačko, Natthakanya Intharasena, Fathmath Isha, Cesmarie Jimenez, Shawn Komlos, Namhi Kwun, Seungah Lee, Cesar Lopez, Bella Mang, Lori Martinez, Jennifer Pandian, Galen Pardee, Sabrina Schrader, Jen Tai, Zhongwei Wang, Huaye Wei, and Zizeng Wu). Game pieces shown here are collected and recreated from: Bartertown, Battleship, B’rer Fox and B’rer Rabbit, The Checkered Game of Life, CLUE, Delirious D,C., District Messenger, In It Together, The Landlord’s Game, LIFE, The Mansion of Happiness, Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Operation, The Other 99%, Symtactics, and The Trading Game. Special thanks to California College of the Arts Architecture Division. Special thanks to Lucía Sanromán, Martin Strickland, Tesar Freeman, Rebecca Silberman, Susie Kantor at YBCA, and Keith Krumwiede, Dustin Smith, Laura Ng, Leah Kandel, and Mrin Aggarwal at CCA.