Architecture in the age of planetary crisis: from the tragedy of commons to new practices of commoning.
Garrett Hardin's 1968 paper, 'The Tragedy of the Commons,' remains one of the most controversial texts illustrating humans' inability to sustain a common resource pool. The argument set out there became a catalyst for research on collective action, unpacking contradictions in various forms of ownership and governance. It has gained particular resonance in recent years as certain actors began to look for a response to climate change - usually referred to as the endgame of the Tragedy - at different levels of governance and across spatial scales.
Existing attempts to reverse the planetary climate crises and to envision an undoing of the Tragedy—as manifest through architectural imagery, development concepts, and international agreements—not only fall short of creating viable solutions, but more significantly, fail to articulate a collective imaginary around which action might even be organized in the first place. At stake in this failure is a crisis of agency and imagination—where individual responsibility is often championed at the expense of planetary accountability.
Rather than reproducing existing configurations of power and agency to prop-up the world as we know it, this panel looks to open up new epistemological frameworks for understanding the conditions and contradictions of our troubled present. Departing from an understanding of the “Tragedy”, this panel brings together projects and papers that explore the intricate relationship between architecture, scenario planning, resource ownership, and our understanding of the planetary crisis. It aims to ask questions as to how, or if, architecture can act on a planetary scale, and, more fundamentally, how the notion of planetarity as a condition of commoning informs architectural practice in the age of climate crises.
Curated by Elena Darjania (Georgia). Special thanks to Jesse Vogler.