Local Code is an exploration of design variants and latent possibilities in overlooked parcels of urban space. It is “as much design speculation as narrative (and as much obsession as exposition),” he explains.
The book includes no fewer than “3,659 drawings of designs (by me!) for vacant lots and spaces in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Venice Lagoon, highlighting how such spaces can play an essential and unique role in providing ecological, social, and cultural resilience. Inspired originally by Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates project, the book has become a graphic and intellectual meditation on cities, networks, data and resilience.”
The book’s thesis is that “vacant public land”—by which de Monchaux means everything from “land under billboards in Los Angeles, dead-end alleys in San Francisco, city-owned vacant lots in New York City, and abandoned islands in the Venetian lagoon”—actually contain “unrecognized potential as a social and ecological resource.” The accompanying explosion of drawings and diagrams is meant to tease out what some of these potentials might be.