Architecture and Space Re-imagined – Just Published

I am extraordinarily pleased to announce that my first ever monograph book was published this week by Routledge.

Architecture and Space Re-imagined: Learning from the difference, multiplicity, and otherness of development practice

Whilst the writing and editing process has been challenging, in the end it has been a fantastic experience.

I hope that it will find its audience, and perhaps in time will become part of a wider discussion of alternative interpretations of architecture and space built upon ideas and practices that emerge from non-Western perspectives.

If anyone wishes to discuss the ideas raised in the book then please get in touch.

About the Book

As with so many facets of contemporary western life, architecture and space are often experienced and understood as a commodity or product. The premise of this book is to offer alternatives to the practices and values of such westernised space and Architecture (with a capital A), by exploring the participatory and grass-roots practices used in alternative development models in the Global South. This process re-contextualises the spaces, values, and relationships produced by such alternative methods of development and social agency. It asks whether such spatial practices provide concrete realisations of some key concepts of Western spatial theory, questioning whether we might challenge the space and architectures of capitalist development by learning from the places and practices of others.
Exploring these themes offers a critical examination of alternative development practices methods in the Global South, re-contextualising them as architectural engagements with socio-political space. The comparison of such interdisciplinary contexts and discourses reveals the political, social, and economic resonances inherent between these previously unconnected spatial protagonists. The interdependence of spatial issues of choice, value, and identity are revealed through a comparative study of the discourses of Henri Lefebvre, John Turner, Doreen Massey, and Nabeel Hamdi. These key protagonists offer a critical framework of discourses from which further connections to socio-spatial discourses and concepts are made, including post-marxist theory, orientalism, post-structural pluralism, development anthropology, post-colonial theory, hybridity, difference and subalterneity.
By looking to the spaces and practices of alternative development in the Global South this book offers a critical reflection upon the working practices of Westernised architecture and other spatial and political practices. In exploring the methodologies, implications and values of such participatory development practices this book ultimately seeks to articulate the positive potential and political of learning from the difference, multiplicity, and otherness of development practice in order to re-imagine architecture and space. 
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Autogestive Practices; An abstract for an upcoming research paper

The following is the much revised abstract for the research paper I have been preparing for upcoming publication. Hopefully this paper will be completed within May, allowing me to progress on to other emerging research projects and papers.

 

The Emancipatory Politics of Informal, Spontaneous, and (maybe) Autogestive Space;

Critical intersections in the anarchist housing practices of John Turner and the socio-spatial Marxism of Henri Lefebvre

Abstract (150 words):

This paper critically re-frames anarchist development practices designed to support and facilitate informal settlements in the Global South as a potentially emancipatory alternative to the economically and politically co-opted architectural processes that produce Westernised space. In order to ground this discussion, the work of participatory development practitioner John Turner in 1960s Peru is posed as a practical realisation of the political potential of autogestive space advocated in Henri Lefebvre’s post-Marxist discourse. This analysis of the grass-roots political action of participatory development in the Global South reveals a critical intersection of autogestion and informal space, and subsequently a re-contextualisation of the socio-spatial contrasts of anarchist and Marxist theories. Highlighting this intersection of Turner’s anarchist self-build housing practices and Lefebvre’s spatial appropriation of Marxist autogestion also frames wider questions of Western assumptions of social and political interpretations of value, autonomy, choice, participation, and social sustainability. Thus, Lefebvre’s much cited post-Marxist proposition of the social production of social space is here critically re-framed against Turner’s seminal anarchist questioning of ‘Who Decides and Who Provides?’

Keywords (4-6):

Autogestion, informal space, self-build, participatory, anarchist, Marxist.