Nextminster | 2017
Could federalism be the shift required to save the union? What if, rather than reinforcing the hegemony enjoyed by the English at Westminster, powers repatriated from Brussels were redistributed more locally? Nextminster envisages a radical restructuring which fragments England along existing administrative boundaries, to produce twelve region states, each closer to one another in population. If centralization = elitism, then decentralization = populism.
The Palace of Westminster is in desperate need of repair and parliament has agreed to vacate the building from 2022 for this to commence. Rather than re-providing a singular institution in the north, Nextminster connects the different social, spatial and cultural layers of Manchester in attempt to give new form to the relation between citizen and government. The EU referendum result prompts us to reflect on our own self-image as British citizens and as Europeans, and as such old imperial spaces of the city take on a new role in building a narrative around citizenship means today. Three layers of pre-existing network emerge - the old industrial canals, the disused railway arches and finally a digital platform - a smartphone app.