Fiatscapes

Nagy Makhlouf

Ph.D. in progress

This research with architectural means seeks to make tangible and legible the entanglement of long-lasting debt policies, urban regulations, and the built environment, focusing on American family homes from 1913 to the present day, notably on New Haven and its suburbia. Notably, the research investigates how the Federal Reserve system, the fiat monetary standard, and consequent public policies have imposed a closed-ended, wasteful, and discriminatory urban operating system: a “fiatscape.” Firstly, the work aims to decode the invisible legal and financial structures that underlie it, then provide tools for recoding them to economize resources and empower its residents.

 

 

Public policies have codified debt-funded access to new construction in the form of “single-family homes” bundled to homeownership. Ecological devastation is written in the language of architecture; yet, this disposition has been growing relentlessly in the USA, the UK, France, Japan… The research investigates relevant architectural tools to face this situation today. Picture: in 1980, through Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy, the Parker Family was one of the first to buy – with monetized debt – a welfare-state council house built after the war.

 

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