The matriarchal city

Jane Briginshaw, @Jane9B9 

We’ll marvel at the ruins of office towers shaped like gherkins or cheese graters that remind us of the rule of the penis

It was the Curfew on Men that got me interested again in the idea of what a city designed by women would look like. A Twitter thread went viral as women imagined what they would do if all men had a 9pm curfew.

I would go outside or to a park at night. I love the nighttime outside when it’s so quiet, and there is a quiet contemplative beauty to the world, especially in the city. But is hard to enjoy it when I’m hypervigilant to possible threats (getting mugged/assaulted/kidnapped).

CJ Jazzy Jeff (@neutronsoup) September 26,2018

Go out to bars by myself, walk with both headphones in my ears without my keys in between my fingers in my hand.

Kristen Michelle (@KristenKayMBee) September 25,2018

Women-designed cities? There’s a retro feel to the idea. To match a time when women architects were brought in for the kitchens. And, never feeling like a ‘woman’ architect or wanting to be boxed into domestics, when I first heard the idea discussed, I didn’t much like it.

Since then, not much has changed: architecture, planning, city design and construction is still all maleness.

But I have changed. If I still refuse to accept that women architects are innately different, I do see that we are conditioned differently and I now see the difference as my architect superpower.

As women, we are boxed in to the domestic sphere, we are more bound up with our homes and neighbourhoods, we are more tied to the schools, playgrounds and parks.

The solution? Either we break out or make our place the place of power. The things that matter in life happen where we, women, are. People connect and meet their deepest needs where we are. It’s just that the Patriarchal Superstate tells us that what really matters is anything else, so what we do cannot be what’s important. Accumulating wealth, making wars, economics, that’s what’s important to patriarchy and what we all really need gets sidelined.

When it comes to designing towns and cities this is literally set in stone.

It will be different in the Matriarchal Superstate won’t it?

At night we will be able to run and run alone if we want to. We’ll be able to hangout in bars alone if we want to. We’ll be able to swim in the sea anytime on a whim. Because male curfew or not, by any means necessary, we will have banished violence and hate against women. At last we’ll be free.

Our power place would be a network of public parks, spaces, stopping points, rivers, shelters, cafes and restaurants where people will play, talk, socialise, invent, make, innovate, package, sell, cook and act, sing, debate, discuss Go-Pros or Watch YouTube together.

It’s not that we won’t be working. It’s just that work will be different. We will be doing work that only humans can do and because the robots will be doing the rest and we’d have shared the money out fairly, we’ll have free time to keep everyone bringing in new ideas.

There won’t be any need for town halls and offices because work will be networked and participative. We’ll be working on how to manage and maintain our human connectivity and imagination. We’ll marvel at a few sad commemorative office towers shaped like gherkins or cheese graters to remind us of the rule of the penis.

Homes? Who knows? Will we still want to live in small units? They’ll be even more of us, so to make way for all the shared and public spaces we will probably have to squash up together. Maybe that won’t be so bad. We will still all be different, so I guess some will want it and some won’t. But because these connective spaces will be at the heart of every place and our source of pride, we’ll be rubbing along together the whole time. We’ll learn to get on and sort out solutions that work for us all.

Matriarchal Superstate places will be like that because we women will have the courage to face what really matters: to be connected and loved and we’ll have self-esteem. With that we will fight to make places where we can fulfil our own unique potentials and, as Maslow says,‘self actualise’. It won’t happen without us.

1 thought on “The matriarchal city

  1. The surplus made by the robots will be swallowed by the rich and we the poor will live in squalor. Like now. We could have had better societies and existences already but what is the incentive of the rich to lessen their wealth and increase ours? I love the macro and imaginative world view of places made for our benefit and for our pleasure and that women are pre eminent in designing that.


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