A work saturated life and an increasing precarity of white collar employment qualify us to demand a different world.
Work has not only dominated our political imaginaries, but also the very landscapes in which we live our lives. Recently, with innovations in artificial intelligence, low-cost networked sensors, and robotics, combined with prolonged economic stagnation for large swaths of the population, there has been increasing interest in policies such as universal basic income as a means of ensuring the economic welfare of all people. These proposals also have a radical utopian dimension that begs the question of what society could be like if all production was automated, the material abundance produced was equitably distributed, and nobody worked at all. Yet, as this possibility is contemplated by more and more people, there has been no significant discussion of the way that our built environments would have to change to accommodate it.
It seems like we're at a crossroads where we should take a step back to critically revisit what we envision for the future and ask ourselves:
How would a city without work look like?
We're launching an open call for artists, titled
The Post-Work City, to refine our visions for the future of the city and our understanding of how it can evolve, in a world where work becomes obsolete.
We invite you to submit art and design projects that imagine what cities could be like in a world where we no longer had to work in order to sustain ourselves. Such a prospect demands a total rethinking of the existing spatial organization of society, since contemporary cities are designed with one particular universal in mind: the pervasiveness of work.
Public spaces
What kinds of public spaces might exist in the place of offices and factories and stores that currently dominate the landscapes of our downtowns and central districts? What facilities and attractions might exist to occupy the time freed from work?
How would people and goods move around, and for what new purposes, if not for work and commerce? Would there be pilotless drone deliveries, pick-up points, and driverless ground transportation? Or might a population freed from the time constraints of employment return to simpler methods of transportation?
Would people even continue to have "homes," in the traditional sense, or might they become sort of "urban hunter-gatherers," eating, sleeping, playing, etc., entirely in public spaces, never claiming these spaces as their own, because the entirety of urban space has become a "benevolent machine" that provides all of the material necessities, functionality, safety, comfort, and entertainment that the home once did?
Would we all continue to sleep primarily at night, and to move around during the day? Or would there be new kinds of nocturnal worlds, new explorations of what is possible and desirable at night? How might activities and spaces be designed to relate to seasonal changes in weather, climate and lighting conditions, where the productive city sought to defy these changes in order to keep the wheels of commerce moving? Might the city come to resemble seasonal resorts?
Regions settled
While competition and expansion had pushed humans into every corner of the earth, how would a non-work world alter the geographical distribution of humans? Would certain regions depopulate, and others grow? Would existing cities dissipate, as people became free of the economic tethers of employment binding them there, and sought to live in smaller conurbations and rural settings?
How might the removal of work lead to a reconfiguration of the way one organizes their lifespan—with career concerns typically dominating—and how might this change the kinds of activities that cities are designed around (schools and play spaces for children, workplaces and entertainment-oriented leisure for adults, and eldercare and retirement activities for the elderly)?
How might institutions function differently, and what kinds of formal/spatial conditions might this call for? How, for example, might education function in a post-work world where education no longer must be rushed into the early years of one's life, to make time for work? How might the city accommodate alternative educational practices, perhaps with students of diverse ages and backgrounds?
Care, friendship and socialization:
How might people spend time together, meet new people, seek entertainment, conduct their sexual lives, etc., and what kinds of places might accommodate these activities? How would care (either supportive care for children, the elderly, the disabled, etc., and/or everyday care between people) function in a world where nobody has to work? What kinds of spaces might be set aside for these various types of care?
Submission guide
1st of January- 30th of June 2021 : Submit your work
Upload your contribution to your Instagram profile (whether it's a graphic design, illustration, haiku, short essay, AR filter, video or any kind of design proposal), make your picture public, and don't forget to add the project hashtag #postworkcity, as the only way for us to identify your artwork and also to allow it to be seen by others.

If you don't use Instagram, you can email the material to us (andra@postwork.city) or upload it in the corresponding link on the website and we will post it on the Post Work City Instagram feed under your name.
Be featured in an online exhibition
From all the daily entries, a curated selection of artworks will be handpicked by our team to be published on the Post Work City official Instagram account until the end of the challenge
and on this website.
Participate in a
roundtable discussion
June 2021
We'll gather journalists, teachers, scholars, activists, designers, architects to talk about the post-work city and their views about the role of design in disentangling the idea of human flourishing through work.
The above works are part of Rafaël Rozendaal's haikus: https://www.newrafael.com.
Get in touch
If you have any questions regarding the project or their creators, or you want to share any ideas, side projects or proposals, or just want to
say hi, please drop Andra Bria a line at:
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