"Outlaw Territories" Book Launch and Discussion
Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency by Felicity Scott
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 6pm
Ware Lounge, Avery Hall, Columbia GSAPP
Response by Brian Larkin
Discussion moderated by Reinhold Martin
During this event, author Felicity Scott spoke with Brian Larkin about her book Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency in a discussion moderated by Reinhold Martin.
In Outlaw Territories, Scott traces the relation of architecture and urbanism to human unsettlement and territorial insecurity during the 1960s and 1970s. Investigating a set of responses to the growing urban unrest in the developed and developing worlds, Scott revisits an era when the discipline of architecture staked out a role in global environmental governance and the biopolitical management of populations. She describes architecture’s response to the displacement of persons brought on by migration, urbanization, environmental catastrophe, and warfare, and she traces architecture’s relationship to the material, environmental, psychological, and geopolitical transformations brought on by postindustrial technologies and neoliberal capitalism after World War II.
At the height of the US-led war in Vietnam and Cambodia, with ongoing decolonization struggles in many parts of the world, architecture not only emerged as a target of political agitation because of its inherent normativity but also became heavily enmeshed with military, legal, and humanitarian apparatuses, participating in scientific and technological research dedicated to questions of international management and security. Once architecture became aligned with a global matrix of forces concerned with the environment, economic development, migration, genocide, and war, its role shifted at times toward providing strategic expertise for institutions born of neoliberal capitalism. Scott investigates this nexus and questions how and to what ends architecture and the environment came to be intimately connected to the expanded exercise of power within the shifting geopolitical frameworks at this time.
Organized by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture in collaboration with Zone Books
Climate change is a crisis of unevenly experienced and systemic injustices that asks hard questions of scholars and practitioners of the built environment. To date, the Green New Deal (GND)—most famously as drafted in H. Res. 109 and S. Res. 59 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, but echoed by politicians and activists around the world—addresses these questions head-on, systemically, and at scale. Over the course of the semester, as a part of its project “Power: Infrastructure in America,” the Buell Center is organizing a series of research, curricular, and programming initiatives to consider the social, technical, and political contours of the ambitious—but still largely undefined—proposal.
In this frame, as a part of its "Public Works for a Green New Deal" curricular initiative and following up on the September 13th "Designing a Green New Deal" event at the University of Pennsylvania, the Center hosted an event at 3:00pm on September 27th, 2019 that examined the topic of "Public Works" relative to the GND in more detail. After an introduction by former Buell Center director Reinhold Martin and brief presentations by the cohort’s faculty members, the afternoon featured presentations on “Public Housing” (by Daniel Aldana Cohen), “Public Transportation” (by Hayley Richardson), and “Public Electricity” (by Abby Spinak), which were followed by a discussion (moderated by Alyssa Battistoni).
Watch the video here.
The teaching of “professional practice” has been standard in US graduate architecture programs for decades. In the National Architectural Accrediting Board’s 2020 update to their “Conditions for Accreditation,” professional practice was defined as “professional ethics, the regulatory requirements, the fundamental business processes relevant to architecture practice in the United States, and the forces influencing change in these subjects.”
The promise of professional expertise under “Green Reconstruction” is a double-edged sword for which new pedagogical models are necessary. How might architects’ roles as community and client advocates be taught in a context of ever-more competitive and specialized professional market shares of "service provision?" Where in the technical, aesthetic, and fiscal chain of architectural operations between the mouse and the jobsite does ethical, professional responsibility lie? Who should be held accountable in the profession for the very composition of the profession, considering glaring racialized, gendered, and economic disparities (among others), and how might that accountability be designed and sustained? What counts as “best” business practice in an economy and profession where wealth’s default flows are increasingly from those who need it most toward those who need it least? And for all of these: who decides? In this special session, faculty members and organizers from institutions shifting their professional practice curricula shared their motivations, methods, and challenges when addressing these and other questions before opening the conversation up to all attendees.
Jacob Moore, Associate Director, Buell Center
Rebecca Berry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Mohr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Carisima Koenig, Pratt Institute
Kwesi Daniels, Tuskegee University
Megan Groth, Woodbury University
The June 2021 Teacher’s Conference, "Curriculum for Climate Agency," as a collaboration between the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), welcomed a range of formats for presentation and communication, from full‐paper and project-based presentations, to workshop‐based interactions, to graphic, visual and/or textual analyses of projects that responded to the ten scholarship themes. More information about the conference can be found here.