Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Implications of social sustainability in architecture: a talk by Catharina Gabrielsson

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The concept of sustainability is admittedly problematic in being based on simplified categories where economic conditions tend to overshadow environmental or social factors. As charged with notions of value, power and capital, the concept of architecture is equally problematic. Architecture cannot be reduced to the object but must be understood as a complex assemblage of material and spatial formations, aesthetic judgments and representational practices; an imaginary/mental as much as a material phenomenon. Architecture is thus a multifariously active component in the complex web of interconnected ecologies that combine in the production of ‘the real’. What implications for a ‘socially sustainable development’ are held in such a broadened, problematized and (what some would call) realist conception of architecture? Drawing on Swedish examples to illustrate how social sustainability is both promoted and obstructed in current planning, I will use these as a backdrop to a brief presentation of case studies that verge from a nature reserve in Cape Town, the ancient city walls of Istanbul, and a squatted house in London during the ‘credit crunch’ of 2008.


WHEN: 8/3/2017 1.15pm

WHERE: Social Space, Level 3, Zelman Cowan Building (51), UQ (St Lucia Campus)

All welcome.