MA: Temporary Free Zones

One of the main problems of "territories" is that they refuse to be at the same place and/or at the same time. It should be possible to handle and operate them in a single portion of experience. Entropy of perception evidenced. To take an adequate distance, in order to accurately consider their cubage, span and velocity, means to constitute a Beobachtungsstelle, a new territory escaping the fieldwork. Ministère de l'Architecture does not seed watchtowers; its Senior Executive Secretaries prefer to design siege towers on the canteen tableclothes during lunch breaks.

Under the term "sustainable zoning", Ministère de l'Architecture groups all its activities dedicated to the study of post-State syndroms and to the prototyping of contingent remedies. The political and legislative perception of the space does not fit anymore the current economic paradigm. This inadequation produces an impression of disorder that Ministère de l'Architecture pretends to correct precisely through its sustainable zoning program. By establishing buffer models, transitory entities, it intends to ease territories to smoothly adapt to the forthcoming patterns of political economy.

In order to constitute a database for sustainable zoning, Ministère de l'Architecture had first to investigate the specific physiology of geostrategic cells: Tax Havens, Offshore centres, Free Trade Zones (FTZ), Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ), Export Processing Zones (EPZ), Free Economic Zones (FEZ), Special Economic Zones (SEZ)(1). Against the current demand for radical transparency and efficiency, their proliferation and heterogeneity turn them into an opaque territorial device. The current zoning system is about to block itself and unavoidably, to dismantle. How to operate a simple transaction between Monaco, Brest FEZ and North Nazimabad Town in such a suffocating organisational mist? These zones are the fumaroles of a still-comatose volcano, and their smoke has already triggered worldwide coughs of nationalism. Do we have to wait until the eruption?

To occlude a fumarole is useless. On the contrary, Ministère de l'Architecture recommends coring as a method. Drilling new holes into the volcano's body, together with implementing valves, allow to lower inner tensions and to evacuate them in a productive way. Sustainable zoning consists in coring and valving, to design dynamic control devices that regulate flows where and when it is strategically necessary. This is where studying the data of geopolitical seismology become a primary condition. The identification of past fissures and ancient scars is a premise while trying to predict and encircle appropriate locations. These cicatrices draw a survey of areal identities on the injured continental tissue.
Just as words can be recalled from the passive vocabulary by a stimulus or by a situation shift, Ministère de l'Architecture proposes to reactivate the passive territories laid down in the shadow of Nation-States. The fact that History's sediments have coated these inclusions does not mean that they are fossiles. The core of these passive territories is a complexion of their temporal identity and of their autonomous past, which gives them a natural propension for recovering their dynamism.

Another problem with the current legislation on "Free Zones" is their permanence, considering that, on the contrary of any kind of economic logic, they have been established for an unlimited duration. Even Hong Kong was a 99-year long leasing. This counterproductive situation is the origin of a major organisational laxism. It is necessary to rationalize the temporality of autonomous zones, because every vivid system needs jump-based components, not the present cattle of equilibrist supersaurus.

It was more than time that Ministère de l'Architecture launch its sustainable zoning program, in order to prototype a new type of territories, entitled Transitory Free Zones (TFZ). Even if the refinement of legislation and the excision of the superfluous in current practices are prerequisites, this work mainly consists in finding and defining pretendously fossilized places to be transformed into "trampoline areas", prefab locations made for relocation.

(1) see Ministère de l'Architecture: deuxième contact.