Architectural processes and practices to a large extent impact on the planet, on our and others vital conditions of existence, and on human and non-human well-being. Thus, our ways of creating, living, using, transforming, controlling and territorialising architectural spaces (physical and digital) are inevitably entangled with questions of caring, ethics and responsibility. There are many challenges, for instance: homelessness, affordability of housing, privatisation of public space, forced labour, bereft designed environments, architecture for profit, excessive resource consumption, waste. What are the moral principles that govern our acting, behaviours, wants, needs, uses of space, matters, privacy, ownership, inclusivity, diversity? What does it mean for architects and stakeholders involved in architectural practices to care, to act ethically and responsibly, to look after others and/or the environment? How can architecture balance care towards the individual with that of the collective or negotiate concern for the present with that for the future? What part can architecture play in the ethics of how we want to live together?
Designers, through their heightened capacity to imagine, have the potential to ask questions, inspire new thinking, create scenarios and envision potential futures. The power of imagination and dreaming can be a crucial driver to overcome the status quo and think outside the box. Speculative scenarios can open up new opportunities, make ideas tangible, discussable and help bring them from the future into the present. Imagination is a concept far more frequently invoked than it is analysed. How do we study imaginaries? How can we create novel entanglements to inspire new thinking and develop radical visions and scenarios of sustainable futures? What narratives and imaginaries lead to other possible futures? How can we create unusual inspirations and make proactive steps towards desirable futures? How can we visualise our dreams? How do we want to live in the future?
We are in a pivotal decade, characterized by multiple challenges and modes of existence. We must act now, both collectively and individually. But without a profound change of our wider socio-technical systems, we will not tackle these challenges ahead. Exploring actions, practices, alternative modes and socio-ecological relationships, on different scales, locally or globally; grassroots projects, politiques and policies ranging from micro-level practices in co-housing, alternative energy provision, shared resources, co-production of urban space, urban agriculture, peer-to-peer consumption and production, and alternative economies. How to rethink the role of the architect in sustainable futures and her relation to an issue action-based approach to practice? How can architects and architecture become agents of change? What radical entanglements can be created through architectural processes and practices? What practices and projects have enacted radical impact and change?
The world is complex and entangled. There are multiple relations, but for individuals or collectives not all relations are equally important. Without assumptions and choices we cannot move forward and develop approaches. How do we choose, and develop pathways? How are these pathways designed and composed? There are multiple worldviews and entanglements of multiple entities, how do they differ? What are the suppressed, surprising or crucial entanglements towards sustainability that are built on specific forms or knowledge, framing, moments, roles, human/non-human, ontologies, realities, and actions? How to deal with messy and complex relations? How do we explore them? What is our map or compass? How to navigate through them? What are the conceptual approaches, strategies or hands-on practical approaches that may enact radical impact and change?