Metaphysics for Millennials

The Metaphysics for Millennials series is hosted by the Architecture Theory Chair as part of its Public Program 2017/2018. In these events, big questions and new conceptual developments in architecture and urbanism today are discussed: crises of climate change and inequality, contradictions in our assumptions of our relations with the world, the future, and others, all serving as an introduction to emerging modes of thought and practice for the Anthropocene. 

Agency and Social Change

Inequalities are embedded in contemporary urban landscapes historically and primarily through the agency of powerful actors, who continue to structurate these landscapes today. It is too easy to accept that the less powerful are simply recipients or victims of processes of development they had little hand in affecting. Social resistances and struggles may be not just for inclusion or recognition but also for rights to alternative forms of life and ‘dignity in autonomy’ from dominant epistemologies. The diversity and difference is of other ways of knowing and inhabiting ‘environments’, including other practices, socialities and livelihoods.

Rosalba Izaca and Stephen Read follow a series of questions: what are the strategies for development? Where does the power to act come from in the first place? What are the scopes of change and the roles of local actors? How does change or resistance find and support a resistant place? What is the role of academic research in sustaining or impeding the conditions that can support and maintain ‘dignities in autonomy’? How can academic research include and address intersecting global crises towards ‘appropriate development’ beyond development?

Facing the Future

We are told we have to do things differently. What differently and why? Stephen Read's short practical guide to the Anthropocene will explain the gap we feel between thinking about the Anthropocene and doing something about it. It will identify the metaphysics (and the technics) that sabotage both thinking and action and will explain why, for all its faults, deceleration trumps acceleration as a strategy for going forward.