Which England?


The traditional Westphalian mode of nation-states with looped typologies is being overwritten. Alternative forms of geo-political order: special economic zones; independent city-states; enclaved principalities; autonomous regions and transnational unions are giving rise to rich new spatial conditions which undermine and supersede existing national boundaries.


Which England? proposes a federal future for the United Kingdom (UK) which is offered as a experimental alternative to the listless course of English devolution and as preferable future to the inevitable break-up of the union. The process necessary to arrive at this new model, to be named the Unites States of Greater Britain (USGB), presents a series of sites for new architectures, devices and narratives.


The USGB is to contain thirteen equivalent states, each with an elected parliament, a capital, a territorial boundary (land, sea and air), a voting citizenry, and a federal park. Yorkshire, with a larger population than Scotland, an economy twice the size of Wales and a historic collective identity is the natural ‘proto-state’ with which to begin. The city of Leeds is designated as the legislative capital and seat of the Yorkshire Parliament; and at the inaugural election of the state, the Yorkshire Party, led by the first First Minister of Yorkshire, Nigel Pickering MYP, win an overwhelming majority.


In the town of Todmorden, now cut in two by the reinstated Yorkshire-Lancastria state boundary, new spatial conditions emerge. The border becomes a catalyst used to explore the tactics, trade- offs, reconfigurations and allegiances employed by a host of local, sub-national and supra-national actors pursuing shared priorities, overlapping opportunities, competing policies and individual ambitions.


Liam Rawlins

RCA Thesis Project