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

The urban condition is one of the greatest challenges for humanity in the 21st century: sustainability, the environment, production, economy, democracy, justice, planning, participation, governance and management, infrastructure are issues of major importance in the broader definition we use for planning. In constant flux, the city and its inhabitants may be viewed as two interconnected systems directly related to each other. Planning here is understood as a multidisciplinary process in areas of research and practices related to ecology and democracy, such as participatory planning, political ecology, permaculture, de-development, integrated planning, positive development and others.

As a continuation of the theoretical analysis of the concepts of "Ecology, Sustainability, Participation", the course proceeds to a design level in the form of an urban lab. The course aims to design strategies and strategies for reconceiving and redesigning areas of the city and its social structures. It addresses issues of sustainability, ecology and participation in the field of the city, in real conditions and after the analysis stages it proceeds to concrete proposals that may be implemented.

The case of Athens

The course uses Athens as a field of research and design, and has an intensive research and lab character. Athens in the crisis years is characterized by multiple and often contradicting processes, such as the rise of poverty as well as becoming a magnet for creative young people from all over the world, abandonment and degradation of infrastructure as well as the introduction of new cultural facilities.  Τhe emergence of networks, the overwhelming numbers of refugees, the rapid deterioration of the quality of life for large segments of the population.

The 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, also generate new practices which attempt to address problems holistically and globally.

Among the objectives of the course is the exploration of the role of architect and the role of architecture in the co-formation of the city and the formation of politics, active subjects, architects and citizens in relation to the attitudes affected, in contact both with theory and with practice. The course may be selected independently, even though considered a natural continuation of the winter semester.

The part of the city which was the area we focused last year and will continue to do so this year is Victoria Square, and it uses the Victoria Square Project (VSP) which we closely collaborate with, a project initiated by artist Rick Lowe,  as our reference point.