Architectures of Spatial Justice
304 pp., 7 x 9 in, 73 color illus., 14 b&w illus.
- Published: April 4, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A field-defining work that demonstrates how architects are breaking with professional conventions to advance spatial justice and design more equitable buildings and cities.
As state violence, the pandemic, and environmental collapse have exposed systemic inequities, architects and urbanists have been pushed to confront how their actions contribute to racism and climate crisis—and how they can effect change. Establishing an ethics of spatial justice to lead architecture forward, Dana Cuff shows why the discipline requires critical examination—in relation to not only buildings and the capital required to realize them but privilege, power, aesthetics, and sociality. That is, it requires a reevaluation of architecture's fundamental tenets.
Organized around projects and topics, Architectures of Spatial Justice is a compelling blend of theory, history, and applied practice that focuses on two foundational conditions of architecture: its relation to the public and its dependence on capital. The book draws on studies of architectural projects from around the world, with instructive case studies from Chile, Mexico, Japan, and the United States that focus in particular on urban centers, where architecture is most directly engaged with social justice issues.
Emerging from more than two decades of the author's own project-based research, Architectures of Spatial Justice examines ethically driven practices that break with professional conventions to correct long-standing inequities in the built environment, uncovering architecture's limits—and its potential.
“An inspiring and provocative book that shows how architecture can turn away from its proximity to late capitalism and bend toward social justice.”
Ananya Roy, Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography, UCLA; Founding Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy, UCLA
“Can justice be built? Cuff argues for alternatives to capital-dominated architecture and explores case studies that create community, dignity, and safety for all. This book is an inspiration—for architects, designers, clients, and policymakers alike.”
Angelika Fitz, Director, Architekturzentrum Wien; co-editor of Yasmeen Lari: Architecture for the Future (MIT Press)
“This is a call for a radically expanded agency in architectural practice—one that must come from acknowledging that the discipline's often downplayed ties to economic, political, and social paradigms have prevented access to supportive environments.”
Giovanna Borasi, Director, Canadian Centre for Architecture; editor of A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention
“Dana Cuff's book rethinks the ethical ground of housing, public space, and infrastructure, providing the tools architects and urban designers need to spatialize social justice.”
Fonna Forman, Professor of Political Theory, University of California, San Diego, and Teddy Cruz, Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism, University of California, San Diego; authors of Spatializing Justice: Building Blocks and Socializing Architecture: Top-Down / Bottom-Up (MIT Press)