Architecture and social commitment:
Critical spatial practices and urban change
Henri Lefebvre announced in 1974 that society produces space but that, in turn, society is produced by space itself. From this idea of reciprocity and creative tension, the course examines architecture’s capacity for social transformation as well as the role of society in the processes of spatial and knowledge production.
Key figures, singular cases and forms of intervention especially committed to a professional practice that expresses a firm concern for social responsibility are explored. This social concern will be able to recognize in the people who live and inhabit the space, the capacity for agency and creation in transforming their environment. Thus, the course unfolds episodes in which the task of the architectural discipline bets on forms and instruments of creation based on the acts of registering, observing, questioning, denouncing, making visible, listening, questioning, being part of and, above all, debating relationships and power structures.
Consequently, the spatial practices associated with the most everyday dimension; the different ways of resignifying the less intervened spaces; the various intensities of involvement between those who inhabit, build and design; or other ways of confronting the dominant architectural discipline, will serve as an exercise to advance in overcoming the inequalities produced by the binomial space-society. In this sense, the course invites to investigate, revisit theories and develop a critique around these cases of ethical and political background that claim equity, inclusion and democracy as key values in design processes at multiple scales. The historical legacies of these impulses will offer the possibility of retracing traces that have often gone unnoticed. As still latent forms of resistance, these other historiographies will propose alternatives and seek their correspondences to bring us back to the present.