Spatial assemblages:the production of space(s) beyond the imperative of growth

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SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP
What sort of spatial practices may respond, in a systematic way, to the challenges of post-growth economies? Though stressing social and environmental concerns, politically committed spatial practices and their theoretical counterparts emerging since the 1960’s have not aimed at responding directly to such challenges. 1 In the light of the present, and of successive, financial and economic crisis, this may be, however, a relevant question for spatial disciplines, particularly for architecture and planning practices which have been lately involved in the production of ‘global commodities’. As debates on ‘shrinking cities’, growth imperatives and socio-environmental externalities of economic development gain public recognition, a radical revision of processes concerning the production of space(s) is being called upon to accommodate claims from ecological economics and political ecology. It could be argued, therefore, that spatial disciplines are ill-prepared for future challenges and that a new set of spatial practices must be convened and debated. But, in order to do so, one must previously clarify 1) what is meant by post-growth economies, 2) what are their founding assumptions and 3) how can they be translated into a set of urban policies consistent enough to inform spatial practices. Only then can we try to understand what sort of practices may be convened, what concepts can act as mediators between them and possible framing discourses, and finally argue on their expectable impacts.
Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity : Reclaiming the Possibility of Making. 3rd AESOP European Urban Summer School 2012, Manchester
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