#154 Laptopistan


B15_#154 // Altered Nature // Sabrina Syed

“If you are a citizen of the people’s republic of Laptopistan, and like sitting for hours, sipping a latte, listening to Tracy Chapman, and twirling your soul patch while perusing your Twitter feed, maybe Club Social works for you. Personally I’d rather dunk my head in boiling duck fat.” – Anthony Bourdain on the gentrification taking place in Montreal

Brownfield sites are as connected as they are desolate, often existing as central but abandoned patches in the urban fabric. Left for the drudgery of being unpalatable and unbuildable, attempts at “Urban Regeneration” lead down the slippery slope to gentrification. Chef and food traveller Anthony Bourdain coined the growth of these commercial establishments phenomenon “Laptopistan” – likely due to their nomadic nature of laptop-clutching, coffee drinking millennial inhabitants. The proposal engages gentrification in favour of pushing the plant-loving millennial trope to its extreme: urban green spaces. Taking the tongue-in-cheek Laptopistan, it runs with it. 

The proposal is a series of urban jungles built on top of abandoned brownfield sites, centrally located and able to work in. However, inhabiting a centrally-located residency comes with responsibility: tenants are in charge of their own 4x4x4 plot, where an output of constant plant-related produce is conditional in order to maintain ownership. Produce can include edible, ornamental or medicinal plant-produce (when legal). Internet connectivity is dependant to the output of each plot, with some being quiet green spaces and others a with high speed internet. Each 4x4x4 is connected by a series of walkways, which eventually create a labyrinth in the new Urban Jungle. Perhaps a people’s republic of Laptopistan can exist, ironically, with a green conscience.

This post is dedicated to the late chef Anthony Bourdain

Sabrina Syed is an M.Arch Student at the University of Edinburgh