Charlotte Malterre-Barthes will present the provocative initiatives intending to steer a conversation among architects and planners on the role of construction in generating untenable ecological and social injustice, and to find ways to take action.
'Architecture of Extraction: Space and the Political Economy of Construction Materials, Mineral Wealth, and Resource Exhaustion' investigates both the global actors engaged in contemporary forms of resource extraction and appropriation—specifically mineral wealth, and their physical effects on territories. The underlying goal is to uncover and explicate the relationship between extraction capitalism, the built environment and knowledge systems via spatial outcomes, from architectural outputs to logistical networks. It also discusses current neo-colonial expansion in relation to the extraction industry as a planetary project, with the objective of constructing a critique of the contemporary forms of resource extraction and of the enabling predatory economics that allow for the production of the built environment, our infrastructure, our cities, our homes, our lives—aiming thus to define a political economy of construction materials.
“A Global Moratorium on New Construction” is an initiative - and a provocation - that argues that a drastic change to construction protocols is necessary: the suspension of new building activity must be enforced. In March 2020, Bruno Latour’s questionnaire was making the rounds, touting that “if everything is stopped, everything can be questioned, bent, selected, sorted, interrupted for good.” Yet, worldwide, construction sites largely kept operating.
The pause offered by the pandemic to question our societal model as advocated by Latour did not happen. Critical questions about the profession remained unaddressed. The moratorium emerged as a provocation to think, at the threshold between the need to pause, and the reality of extractivist practices on which we rely.
The intent is to approach the discussion from different angles — for planning disciplines (what does it mean for designers to stop building), but also taking into account global inequalities (overbuilding versus lack of housing depending on contexts), construction vs distribution, etc- to address all these complexities, gathering and hearing several voices.
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