Contemporary Theories and Applications in Design IΙ: Ecology, sustainability, participation

Course Code: 
Elective Course
Teaching Hours: 
Postgraduate Programme "Architecture - Spatial Design"
Course Format: 
Design - Theory

Brief description

Contemporary Theories and Applications in Design: Ecology, sustainability, participation

Course content

  • How do design practices and the scientific field of architecture respond in relation to the challenges of an era marked by environmental, political and social crises?
  • How are lifestyles being reflected in the cities, infrastructure and the built environment and, in turn, how are spatial planning, buildings and cities shaping  prevalent societal behaviors?
  • How does all this get linked to the values of a society in terms of how it perceives nature and its relations with it?

In the recent history of architecture of the 20th century the modern movement has evolved through various, sometimes conflicting, and contradictory threads. While a better articulation of the relationship of the modern with nature began shaping through regionalist versions and experimental architecture, there was no strong evidence at the time of the problems that the advent of a universally adopted in post-war years consumerist and energy-intensive way of life would bring. However, since the 60s new theories which attempt to describe, analyze and address the problem of the environmental crisis from different angles began formulating. From the 90s onwards, climate change, combined with the exhaustion of oil reserves and available fossil fuels awaken public opinion, intensify research and trigger new theories and design practices.

The establishment of man’s presence as a force capable of affecting the planet’s climate and geology is now being widely recognized as a phenomenon, the intensity of which justifies the name of the times we live in, as the Anthropocene. Furthermore, the first decade of the new millennium is characterized by the emergence of networks and by extensive changes they brought at all levels of human activity. Unprecedented economic, social and political crises of recent years reveal new aspects of the impasses and challenges that we face, which have inspired developments in theories and research, generating new practices which attempt to address problems holistically and globally.

Space and its design practices play a particularly crucial role in the shaping of relations with the environment and with involved social groups and institutions. Distribution of power, relations between the natural and urban environments, the management of manmade activities and their effects on the environment, together with methods of governance and management are all major issues. The demands of our time made today at world level make clear the complexity of these interconnections. These get reflected in various theories, from the principles of which stem practices related to cities and architecture. Each theory interprets aspects of the problem with different tools, focusing each time on specific issues of a multidimensional phenomenon, extremely difficult to understand through a single theoretical approach.  As part of architectural practices, each theory addresses one side of the problem, often downplaying or ignoring others, thus revealing a relative lack of knowledge with regard to impact on the aspects of an extremely complex reality. Therefore, a solid understanding of the panorama of these theories is crucial in an effort to produce and consolidate appropriate strategies, since they are directly or indirectly linked to the practices we adopt as scientists, professionals and citizens.

The course looks for the correlations and applications between design and contemporary areas of thought and research related to ecology and democracy, such as political ecology, permaculture, degrowth, craddle to craddle, positive development, the Transition movement, participatory planning, action research, and others. Each of these theories will be analyzed, examining the origins, the arguments and the mechanisms being employed. The ways in which design is directly or indirectly affected or involved will be explored.

The course will be conducted with lectures by the instructor and invited theorists and practitioners in specific fields related to design and planning, and associated with some of these fields of thought, research and practice. A project will be prepared with an emphasis on theoretical principles that will be discussed and implemented around a topic which will be of the choice of the participants.

Selected bibliography

Αναστασόπουλος, Νικόλαος. 2013. ‘Περιβαλλοντική Διαχείριση και Νεώτερα Εναλλακτικά Πρότυπα Κοινωνικής και Οικιστικής Οργάνωσης’. Αθήνα: Εθνικό Μετσόβιο Πολυτεχνείο. Εθνικό Κέντρο Τεκμηρίωσης/ Εθν. Αρχείο Διδ. Διατριβών.

Βαίου, Ντίνα, και Κωστής Χατζιμιχάλης. 2012. Ο χώρος στην αριστερή σκέψη. Ινστιτούτο Νίκος Πουλαντζάς | Αθήνα: εκδόσεις νήσος.

Γκουαταρί, Φελίξ. 1991. Οι τρεις οικολογίες. Μετάφραση Μάντα Σολομού. Αθήνα: Αλεξάνδρεια.

Καραβίδας, Κωνσταντίνος. 1981. Το πρόβλημα της αυτονομίας: Σοσιαλισμός και κοινοτισμός. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση.

Λατούς, Σερζ. 2008. Το στοίχημα της απο-ανάπτυξης. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Βάνιας/Περάσματα.

Μοδινός, Μιχάλης. 1996. Η αρχαιολογία της ανάπτυξης. Ηράκλειο: Πανεπιστημιακές Εκδόσεις Κρήτης.

Μπούκτσιν, Μάρεϊ. 1997. Ο Μύθος του υπερπληθυσμού. Μετάφραση Σπύρος Κοτρώτσος. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Ελεύθερος Τύπος.

———. 2000. Τί είναι Κοινωνική Οικολογία. Μετάφραση Μάκης Κορακιανίτης. Αθήνα: Βιβλιοπέλαγος.

Σταυρακάκης, Γιάννης, επιμ. 1998. Φύση, κοινωνία και πολιτική. Αθήνα: Νήσος.

Τάιμπο, Κάρλος. 2012. Η πρόταση της αποανάπτυξης. Μετάφραση Νίκος Κοκκάλας. Αθήνα: Οι εκδόσεις των συναδέλφων.

Τερζάκης, Φώτης. 2003. Αποσπάσματα μίας φιλοσοφίας της φ ύσης. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις futura & Φώτης Τερζάκης.

Bloch, Ernst. 1985. Ουτοπία και επανάσταση. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Έρασμος.

Braungart, Michael, και William McDonough. 2002. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press.

Hopkins, Rob. 2008. The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience. Chelsea Green.

Lefebvre, Henry. 2007. Δικαίωμα στην Πόλη. Αθήνα: Κουκίδα.

Lovelock, James. 2006. Η εκδίκηση της Γαίας. Μετάφραση Άγγελος Φιλιππάτος. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Λιβάνης.

Morrow, Rosemary. 2015. Οδηγός περμακουλτούρας: σχεδιασμός για την αυτάρκεια και την αυτονομία μας. Μετάφραση Τίνα Λυμπέρη. Αθήνα: publications.