Political Economy of Design

Political Economy of Design seeks to position and discuss architecture in relation to the world of production, economic interests and community benefits, at a local and global scale. By integrating yet moving beyond the stylistic, technological or sociological aspects of the discipline, the discussion reviews the industrial elements that are likely to affect programmatic objectives, formal directions and technical outcomes of building projects. In this context, architecture’s connection with planning and building disciplines is examined and criticised in the attempt to formulate a strategic framework for its use as an environmental policy instrument.

This year, PED focuses on the notion or ‘robustness’ and its operative meaning in architecture and building design. We are interested in looking at design as something that generates collective value, a notion that extends to the environment at large. If this were the case, what qualities (or generic quality) must a design (in its built form) possess and reflect in order to be considered of value within its environment of reference? Furthermore, whom establishes value and whom or how one determines quality? Could it be that some of our most treasured architectural convictions will not stand up to scrutiny against this type of political assessment of design value?

Top image: Tombesi (2018)