Our contemporary paradox is that we need consumer-driven economic growth and yet we can’t afford it—not in environmental, economic or social terms. Many architects and designers are concerned about the problems of growth but face a paradox of their own as they have long been seen as engines for consumerism and growth; without growth, what purpose does design have? If people consume or build less, what will be left for designers to do?
This book, informed by recent research into the viability of a "steady state" economy, addresses the paradox by proposing ways that architecture and design can act to transition us towards a new kind of economy that prioritizes real wellbeing rather than economic growth. Packed with examples and illustrations, it argues that taking action, or activism, is an important but hereto underexplored way for architects and designers to realign their role in the consumerism question.
The first chapters explore how economic growth and consumerism shape and are shaped by the professions of architecture, product, and landscape design and how we can understand the problem of consumerism as four main challenges that designers are already addressing. The book maps out the main issues surrounding the development of metrics that designers and others can use to measure success, instead of simply measuring economic growth. The second half of the book looks at how design activism works and its connection to growth and consumerist issues. These chapters examine how activist practices are financed, highlight five specific methods that designers use in working for social change, and investigate the power of these methods. The book concludes with a consideration of what design’s role might be in a "post-growth" society.
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Ann Thorpe is currently based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. Preface 1. Design Activism, Movement Society and a Post-growth Scenario 2. Design in the Shadow of the Rise and Fall of Growth 3. Design Activism Confronting Economic Growth 4. From Here to There, Sketching a Sustainable Economy 5. Picking Up Moves from Social Movements 6. Political Power on a Budget 7. Speculating on the Steady State Scenario 8. Conclusion